He Is Not Here
Dawn breaks interrupting the darkness of night and sounds begin to pierce the silence. It is the first day of the week, but there is no joy or hope in this new day for the followers of Jesus. The disciples are still processing the crucifixion while a group of women heads to the tomb where the body of Jesus had been placed. The smell of spices permeates the air as they make their way to the cold stone vault that housed their Lord. The women are shocked when they find the stone which sealed the tomb has been moved and as they enter inside they discover that the body of Jesus is missing. They are confused, worried, and trying to understand what is happening when two angels in dazzling apparel appear to them. The women are frightened, and they bowed their faces to the ground. The angels ask them why they have come to a tomb looking for a dead man announcing that Jesus has risen! They remind these ladies that while in Galilee Jesus told them that he would be delivered into the hands of sinful men, crucified, but on the third day, he would rise. The women remember, and suddenly hope gives birth to joy, and they went quickly to tell the disciples. These women stood by Jesus when the men fled in fear and they are the first to receive the announcement that Jesus is alive. Their excitement is met with skepticism because when they tell the disciples what they had seen and heard, they dismiss their words as an idle tale. This must have frustrated the women, perhaps even made them angry. Jesus told them what he was going to do, they had seen the empty tomb themselves, but his disciples will not believe their story. Peter may have struggled to believe, but he went to see for himself. He may have been filled with doubt, but his feet ran with hope. He finds what the women had described and when he looks inside, he only sees the linen cloths. Peter is filled with wonder, and he contemplates what has taken place as he returns to the city.
Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us
The greatest day in history is filled with wonder, unbelief, questions, and discussion. The same day two disciples journey to a village about seven miles outside of Jerusalem named Emmaus. The conversation is dominated by the events that had just occurred and as they are discussing these things Jesus joins them on the road but Jesus kept his identity hidden. Jesus asks them what they were talking about causing their countenance to drop as they came to a halt. Cleopas asks how he could be unaware of what has taken place in Jerusalem in the last few days and then he begins to tell what happened to Jesus including the roles of the chief priests and rulers. They spoke openly about their hopes that Jesus would redeem Israel and they told this stranger about the report brought by the women and corroborated by those who went to investigate their claims. Jesus rebukes them for their unbelief and their misunderstanding of Scripture. It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and Jesus took them on a tour of the scriptures to explain all the things that refer to him. As they drew near Emmaus, Jesus acted as if he were going on ahead, but they urged him to stay because they enjoyed his company and his teaching. He went into the house with them, and at the table, he took the bread and when he blessed it and gave it to them their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus who vanished from their sight. Their hearts burned within them as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them. There was no time to lose, and they left immediately and went to Jerusalem to tell the eleven. They announced to the group that Jesus had risen. Excitement turns to fear when Jesus stood in their midst and spoke peace to them. They are terrified and believe that they see a spirit. Jesus asks them why they are disturbed and filled with doubt. Jesus offers his hands and feet as evidence that he is alive and not a spirit. Jesus asks for something to eat and shares a meal with the disciples. Jesus reminds the disciples what he said to them and points out that the scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus opens their minds to the truth of Scripture, explains the cross, and told them they were witnesses of these things. Jesus tells the disciples that the promised Holy Spirit is coming and they are to stay in the city until they are clothed with power from on high. He took them out as far as Bethany and blessed the disciples. While they look on, Jesus leaves them and is carried up into heaven. They worship Jesus and return to Jerusalem with joy. They were in the temple continually, and they blessed God as they waited for the power from on high.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think angels announce Jesus' resurrection?
- Why do we need reminders about what Jesus has said?
- Why is it important that Jesus told his followers what would happen before it happened?
- Why do you think the disciples did not believe the women?
- Why do you think Peter went to the tomb so quickly?
- Why are the scriptures so important?
- What is Jesus' view of scripture?
- How does the word of God make our hearts burn?
- Do you give yourself to the Scripture regularly? Why or why not?
- Is it significant that Jesus ate? Why or why not?
- How are we witnesses for Jesus?
- Why do we need to be clothed with the power from on high?
- How can the disciples be joyful after Jesus departed?