It is a couple of weeks since we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact and there are numerous witnesses who had met the living Jesus. Sometimes, there were more that 500 people who had seen Jesus at a single given time. What happened on that Easter morning had radically altered human history ever since. We recognize that the empty tomb itself is a witness to resurrection. The appearances to the disciples also testify to his resurrection and finally the transformation of the terrified disciples into bold and confident witnesses is a testimony to the resurrection.
First and the foremost, the empty tomb is a testimony to the resurrection of Jesus. When Mary Magdalene along with the other women went to the tomb early in the morning, they found that the stone covering the tomb had been rolled away and they didn’t find the body of Jesus.
Both Matthew and Mark record for us that the stone was a very large stone (Matthew 28:60; Mark 16:4). It was impossible for the women to roll the stone back. Moreover, an angel tells them, “Why do you seek the living among dead?”
When the women ran back to the disciples and told them what had happened, they think that the women were delirious. All this shows that this was indeed a real event that Jesus had risen from the dead.The soldiers who were guarding the tomb reported to the high priest all that they had seen. They were given large sums of money and were asked to spread the news that the disciples came and stole the body while they were asleep. The story has many lacunae because if the soldiers were sleeping how did they know that the disciples had stolen it. The stone was so large that moving it without a noise would have not been impossible. Thirdly, no one stealing something will fold clothes and put it in a corner.
The simplest thing would have been to produce the body of Jesus and show the people that everything was a lie.
Jesus appeared on numerous occasions to his followers: at the empty tomb outside Jerusalem on Sunday morning to the women; to Mary Magdalene; to the two travellers to Emmaus on Sunday afternoon; to Peter in Jerusalem during the day on Sunday; to the ten disciples in the Upper Room on Sunday evening; to the eleven disciples a week later and one day when the seven disciples were fishing at the lake of Galilee and Jesus asks them to come and have breakfast.
The seven disciples infact had gone back to fishing not at knowing what the future held. Early in the morning Jesus stood on the shore and asked the disciples whether they had caught any fish. They didn’t recognise Jesus and they said ‘No’.
Jesus ask them to throw the net on the other side and they did so and caught a large number of fish and they recognised that it was Jesus. Jesus had a fire of burning coals and was preparing breakfast and said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’.
None of them dared to ask who he was, for the knew it was the Lord. Their meal together stamped and indelible impression on their minds. Years later, in his preaching, Peter spoke of himself as a reliable witness who ate and drank with Jesus after his resurrection. (Acts 10:41)
The disciples’ lives were also radically transformed because of the resurrection. As we look back on the event of the resurrection, we are grateful to God for all the witnesses who passed down the record of the resurrection to us.
May we truly celebrate the resurrection and continue to be his witnesses to the world.