John 20:19-20 NIV “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
If you are like me, you may have also imagined what it would have been like to be in that room when Jesus first appeared to most of His disciples, when they were together. I’m pretty sure that would easily qualify as one of these so called “light bulb” moments. How do you really put something like this into words that accurately capture what transpired?
I don’t really think you can.
We can read the truths that Jesus gave us in God’s Holy Word. We can ponder the spiritual realities that He explained to us and we can mentally envision the brutality of the crucifixion but nothing, absolutely nothing, underscores or validates all of these things like Jesus’ resurrection.
Prior to the crucifixion of Jesus, Jesus had explained to His disciples what was going to happen.
John 14:19 NIV “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.“
And after His Resurrection, because Thomas had been absent to His first appearance to the group of disciples, Jesus again reappeared to His disciples, this time when Thomas was present. And after Thomas had seen Jesus and looked at His wounds the following dialogue is recorded:
John 20:28-29 NIV “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
That’s the part, about having not seen, where you and I, as believers in Jesus, the Son of the living God, come into play.
But what do you think went through the minds of the disciples when they saw the risen Lord? What would have gone through your mind had you been there? I think I can tell you what may have gone through my mind, had I been there, as one of His disciples:
- Jesus said He was the Son of God, the promised Messiah. He demonstrated and validated His claim by His spoken truth and the many miracles that He performed throughout His ministry, which I witnessed.
- Jesus said He would be killed and that He would rise again from the dead on the third day. We had a hard time believing Him because no one, who claimed to be God, had ever done this before.
- They did kill Jesus. We saw it. There was no doubt that He was dead.
- The dead body of Jesus was buried in His tomb. We saw that too.
- On the morning of third day, the stone in front of His tomb was found rolled aside and His tomb was empty. The burial clothes He was wrapped in were found in the empty tomb.
- On the evening of the third day, as He promised, He appeared before us, alive, with His wounds still present and through a locked door.
- We heard Him, we saw Him, we touched Him.
- Jesus is the Son of God, He was killed and died and He lives again.
- Nothing, absolutely nothing, in my life will ever be the same!
That is what I think I would have thought. On the other hand I could have closely resembled someone who was speechless. The scriptures indicate “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” That’s probably a bit of an understatement.
Would I have loved to have been there? Yes I would, but I wasn’t there.
Have I ever seen Jesus? No I haven’t but I can tell you I long to.
Of course there’s a lot more to God’s revelation of His witness to Himself and the love that He expressed through His Son Jesus, the Christ, than what I have outlined above. A whole lot more. But the fact that Jesus died and rose again from the dead, as He foretold He would, is the clincher.
And were the Apostles aware of the significance of Jesus’ resurrection?
Yes they were.
Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul when he says the following:
1 Corinthians 15:13-20 NIV “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.“
Yes, I’m pretty sure they understood the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. So sure that they all ended up giving their lives for the privilege of spreading the Good News of the Gospel (Apostle John excluded).
So today, like so many other believers, I will join with my brothers and sisters in praising God for His love and mercy and for sending us His Son, Jesus, the Christ, our Redeemer Messiah, so that we who believe in Him, might live, because He lives.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!