Sorrow Turns to Joy

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’—and that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:18)The resurrection of Jesus is the greatest, most convincing evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. And that is cause for great rejoicing. We see that joy in John’s account of the events following the resurrection, but not immediately for, as we know, the disciples had experienced great fear and confusion because of the crucifixion. And so when when they first heard of the disappearance of the body from Mary Magdalene, they were extremely skeptical. And, in addition, why believe the testimony of hysterical women? Peter and John had to go to the tomb to investigate for themselves and confirm that the body was missing.

John tells us that he believed when he saw the burial clothes lying there in the tomb. They were not cast about and in a mess. Apparently the body of Jesus had just disappeared, dematerialized leaving the cloths that had been wrapped around his body discarded like an empty cocoon after a butterfly has emerged, still retaining the form of the body, but without the body. No wonder he believed and rejoiced. Even Mary Magdalene rejoiced when she saw and talked with Jesus. The rest remained unconvinced, confused and afraid until they saw for themselves. We cannot really fault them for how they reacted. Although they had seen Jesus raise people from the dead, the idea of someone raising himself was so foreign to their way of thinking that it made no sense.

As we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we rejoice as we recall that His resurrection is the assurance of our own, the assurance of eternal life. No matter how much the wicked may prosper in this life, no matter what they may do to us or say to us, that does not matter. We know that we serve a risen savior. Only we Christians can state that. No other faith can make that such a claim.

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