Monday, February 22, 2016

Confusion after the Crucifixion

Read John 20.

It is always fascinating to read again the actual eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.  Though He had predicted this at least several times in their hearing, none of His followers were expecting it.  It was not until later that "they remembered his words" (Luke 24:8) and they realized this was God's plan all along.  Further, the Holy Spirit moved John to include "for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead" (v.9).

It is in hindsight that the Old Testament prophetic passages come alive concerning the Messiah.
"...because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered among the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12b)
"For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption." (Psalm 16:10)
And, many others.

Notice the initial responses to the good news by those closest to Jesus.
1. Mary.  
She was confused and certain that someone had stolen the body.  Crying, with her head down, she spoke with angels and with Jesus unaware.  It was not until Jesus called her name that she looked up to see who it was.  "Teacher!"  She quickly ran to tell the disciples, "I have seen the Lord."

2. John and Peter.
Upon hearing the first report from Mary, ran to the tomb to see for themselves.  Finding nothing but grave clothes, they were not sure what happened.  They returned home.

3. The Disciples.
They were fearful.  If the authorities could kill Jesus, what would happen to them?   They gathered together behind a locked door.  Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the room.  He spoke peace to their troubled hearts.  Then, He empowered and commissioned them to represent Him.  The message was and is that the full and final payment for sin has been made and that all who come to believe in Jesus as their Savior may be forgiven.  As Jesus explained repeatedly, this is the offer of eternal life through faith in Him alone (John 6:26-29).

4. Thomas.
This is the original doubting Thomas.  He refused to believe in a resurrected Jesus.  Even though the other ten disciples confirmed that they had seen and interacted with the risen Christ, he said unless he could see and touch Jesus for himself "I will never believe."  Jesus waited eight days more to confront Thomas about that statement.  When Jesus appeared, Thomas' only responses were to worship and declare that Jesus was "my Lord and my God!"

The resurrection of Jesus is an historical fact.  Responses today fall in similar categories as above.  Some were confused.  Some did not know.  Some were fearful.  Some disbelieved.  None understood the pertinent Scriptures at the time.  It was the personal encounter with the risen Lord that brought spiritual clarity and prompted the worship of Jesus as God.

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