Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
Jesus said He would come back to life after dying and it happened! The three women hadn’t really expected it, but the angel told them that Jesus was no longer in the tomb because He was alive again! Jesus had shown who He was by coming back from the dead! Death could not hold Him, He was the innocent Son of God and He had completed what He came to do. Jesus wanted His followers to know that everything was okay still, even though they had run away and left him to be arrested and killed. It doesn’t matter how bad you have been, Jesus still loves you and His forgiveness is still there for you. Whatever regrets you have His forgiveness is bigger.
The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened. After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.
They all thought that Jesus coming alive again was too good to be true, even though He had told them it would happen! There are many promises that God makes to us in the Bible, where He gives us so much more than we deserve. When we realise how sinful we are and how little we deserve, then all His promises seem too good to be true! He doesn’t ask you to earn His love by doing religious acts or good works. His promise of forgiveness and His love, care and friendship are a completely free gift which you can have.
Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.
What about you? Do you believe that Jesus died and then came alive again?
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptised will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
We have just seen how Jesus died on a cross, to take the punishment people deserved for the bad things they did, so that forgiveness and a new close friendship with God would be possible, but how do you actually make this promise of a fresh start yours? How can you be saved? What do you have to do? Jesus told them: “anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned” The answer is that simple: it’s not about what you do, it’s about what you believe! If you believe in who Jesus is and what you have just read He has done, it will impact your life and change you forever and you will be forgiven, saved and adopted into God’s family.
When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
Jesus died on a cross, came back to life, spent time with His followers and then went back to heaven: the place where He had been, before He visited the earth as a baby. Jesus is there alive in heaven now and He is waiting, until the day when He has promised to come again as ruler, judge and king. Will you be ready for Him when He comes again!? Will you be pleased to see Him because you are one of His followers?
- Ask Jesus to help you to realise that you do, say and think bad things and deserve to be punished by God
- Ask Jesus to help you to trust that when He died, He died for you – so that you could escape the punishment you deserve
- Ask Jesus to help you to believe that He is alive today and wants you to chose to follow Him and be His close friend