The Lord has truly risen! Amen
By Bert Scholten
Easter is the most important event of the Christian Church.
If Christ did not rise, there shouldn’t be even a Christian Church.
then the whole story of Jesus would stopp with the death of Jesus.
But why Jesus had to die?
It was Gods plan to reconcile us people again with Him.
From the beginning, it started already in paradise, people sinned against God.
They went their own way, without God. Served other gods, did what was wrong in God’s eyes.
God sent prophets to warn them and bring people back to Him. But the people didn’t listen.
Eventually, God did his last effort to reach the people. He sent his own Son into the world.
God became human, to carry the sin of the world away. In the man, Jesus God appeared on earth.
In the Old Testament, we can read how God was reconciled with his people. On the day of atonement, the sin of the people was laid on a goat and this goat was sent into the desert. And the other goat was sacrificed so that his blood covered all sin.
Now Jesus fulfilled the tasks of these goats. Through his death he carried the sin of the world away.
Jesus died for our sins to make us free from the power of sin.
On Good Friday Jesus died upon the cross and was buried in a grave.
Then it became still.
And in that silence, God raised Jesus from the death. Unseen, nobody saw it, nobody knew it.
Read from Bible Mark 16:1-8
On the morning of the third day women went to the grave to care for the body of Jesus. But they found the stone rolled away and the tomb was empty. Jesus wasn’t there anymore.
In the grave, there was only an angel who told the women that Jesus has risen. That He was alive.
The women didn’t understand what this meant and fled away from the tomb, trembling and bewildered.
For they were afraid!
Jesus had his disciples told that He would die, but after three days he would rise from the dead. But they didn’t understand it and forget about it.
If you don’t believe that Jesus raises from the dead, an empty grave says nothing.
Look how the women reacted to what the saw. They were afraid and ran away, without saying anything to the other disciples.
The same you can see in the story of two disciples going home to Emmaus.
Read from Bible Luke 24: 13-45
Two disciples are on the way home in Emmaus. Jesus is dead, their dreams are over so they went home.
But Jesus joins them on the way. “what are you talking about?”, He askes.
They look at Him with sad faces. “don’t you know about Jesus? What happened to Him, how He was killed on the cross?”.
“We had hoped that He was the one who would redeem Israël. But now he is dead and our hope is gone.
And today some women found the grave empty and an angel said that He was alive. But Jesus they didn’t see.”
The hope of the disciples was gone and they went home.
If you don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus, you don’t have hope anymore.
The disciples trusted Jesus and He gave them hope for the Future, but now He is dead there is only fear and despair.
They don’t know how to go further.
Jesus had told them three times that He would die, but on the third day would raise from the dead. But they didn’t know what He meant.
He had also told that he would not let them be alone. But now Jesus is dead and the tomb is empty, they don’t know what to believe.
That he was raised from death and was alive again was to difficult to understand. An empty grave and even angels don’t people make to believe.
But what did make that the disciples of Jesus were going to believe that he was raised from the death and was alive? That he lived?
When they met Him!
The men from Emmaus recognized Jesus when He broke the bread. And they believed.
the disciples believed when Jesus come in their midst.
But Thomas, one of the disciples, was not there at that time. And he still didn’t believe.
“I have to see and to feel Him”, Thomas said.
The next time, when Jesus appeared to his disciples Thomas was there. And he believed.
Jesus said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.
Jesus knew how difficult it is to believe in his resurrection.
For we cannot meet with Jesus. We only have the stories of the Bible. But in the witnesses of the disciples who met the risen Lord, we can meet Him. The disciples found new hope through the resurrection of Jesus and testified about the risen Lord. So that we can believe.
Do we believe that Jesus has raised from the dead?
The apostle Paul wrote: if there is no resurrection then our belief is worthless. But Christ is risen!
When the disciples met the risen Lord, they got new hope, and those hope they gave through to us. So that we can believe also.