Christian faith is built on the story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul tells us so: “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The Good News that the angels asked the women to tell the disciples is that Jesus came back, He was raised from the dead. The four Gospels attest that Jesus was crucified, buried and resuscitated. After His resurrection, he appeared to His disciples for forty days.
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Is it possible to imagine the agitation and confusion of Peter and John when Mary Magdalene ran to them and told them that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb? Ever since their Master died, they had been tormented by anguish and disappointment... and they weren’t sure that Jesus would return. And who could blame them, really? Yet, Jesus was victorious over even the worse of things: death. It taught them a good lesson of hope.
In our lives, there are many things which we have buried deep down within ourselves, much like Jesus was buried in the tomb, because we deemed them hopeless, and we decided to close the lid on them. But think of the resurrection of Jesus as a breath of hope. Remove the stone enclosing your heart, and believe that life and renewal can come from what you previously deemed hopeless.
The first time Jesus appeared to His disciples was in the absence of the Apostle Thomas. When the other disciples told him what happened, he could not believe them. Thomas wanted to see and to feel before believing. However, Jesus proclaimed that there is a greater joy found in believing without having seen. This faith and this joy comes from the Holy Spirit.
Most of us have never seen Jesus (well, quite probably none of us have) . We have been told about Him and His story, and the Holy Spirit opened our hearts to believe in Him. True faith “comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17); faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11: 1). This is the faith that the Lord desires us to have.