Author: Ron Graham
He Is Risen!
—The good news of Christ’s resurrection
The true story of Christ’s resurrection, including the recorded appearances of the risen Christ...
1 The Good News That Christ Arose
At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden, a new tomb in which no one had ever lain. There they laid Jesus. On the third day of his burial, the first day of the week, early in the morning, they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them and said, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but he is risen!' (see John 19:41-42, Luke 24:1-9).
We believe "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures" (1Corinthians 15:3-4).
These events, including the resurrection, were known to hundreds of people, and were recorded as a testimony to us that we might be assured that they did happen (1Corinthians 15:1-8). In addition, at the time of Jesus's death and resurrection, many other people were raised from the dead and went into Jerusalem and appeared to many (Matthew 27:52-53).
There is no other set of facts, past, present, or future, more important than these certified facts about Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection — facts handed down to us from those who knew Jesus (1John 1:1-4).
When Jesus arose from the dead he gave us reason to hope with complete assurance that we would have eternal life. He has become "the firstfruits of those who are asleep" (1Corinthians 15:20).
Jesus was the first human being to arise from death and live forever in heaven. But after him, there will be a great harvest on the resurrection day, the great day of his second coming (John 5:21-29). Had Christ not risen from the dead, we Christians would be a people without hope and to be pitied (1Corinthians 15:12-26,52).
2 Good News But No Surprise
The news of Christ's resurrection should have come as no surprise to the people who knew Jesus. He had said that he would rise from the dead (Matthew 12:40, 16:21).
In addition, Jesus had performed several miracles that should have left people to expect his own resurrection from the dead. For example...
- He raised a man who was on his way to be buried (Luke 7:11-17).
- He brought back to life a little girl who had died (Luke 8:40-56).
- He called his friend Lazarus out of the grave (John 11:1-44).
3 Good News For Every Day
Having heard the good news of Christ's death for us, and his resurrection, what should we do?
Does it make sense to go through our lives in such a way that these facts seem irrelevant traditions sentimentalised once a year, honoured in a liturgy, but not the basis of our lives? How strange it is that Easter and Christmas are the only times many people celebrate and remember the good news.
Or, if we pay more than once-a-year lipservice to the cross and the empty tomb, then how strange it is that this, in itself, seems strange to others! Believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, in such a way that your daily life, all year long, is built upon it, is one sure way to be regarded as eccentric —even by many who may go to church at "Easter" time.
Really, one should regard the death and resurrection of Christ in an equally high manner each day of one's life, and each Sunday at church. (You may be quite surprised to learn that there is nothing about a special Easter observance in the Bible. Easter is a Roman Catholic and a Protestant tradition, not a scriptural observance.)
"Easter" should really be a daily observance, a way of life, providing us with constant blessed assurance. It should begin at our baptism (in which we are buried and raised with Christ according to Romans 6) and continue through our whole life until we die to await the voice of our Master to awaken us to our own resurrection and ascension into eternal glory.
Yes, the Christian awakens to each new day, not just "Easter Sunday", with the precious and powerful thought: "He arose, He arose, Hallelujah Christ arose!"
Recorded Appearances of Jesus
- ( 1 ) Early Sunday morning (April 9) to Mary Magdalene near the sepulchre at Jerusalem (Mark 16:9, John 20:11-18)
- ( 2 ) To the women returning from the sepulchre (Matthew 28:9-10)
- ( 3 ) To Peter (Cephas) near Jerusalem later that day (Luke 24:34, 1Corinthians 15:5)
- ( 4 ) To two disciples going to Emmaus that day (Mark 16:12, Luke 24:13-31)
- ( 5 ) That evening at Jerusalem to the apostles except Thomas (Mark 16:14, John 20:19-25)
- ( 6 ) Sunday evening (April 16) at Jerusalem to all the apostles especially Thomas (John 20:26-29)
- ( 7 ) End of April to seven disciples fishing on Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-13)
- ( 8 ) To eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-18)
- ( 9 ) Over 500 disciples at once --location uncertain (1Corinthians 15:6)
- (10) To James --location uncertain (1Corinthians 15:7)
- (11) To the apostles (and probably others) during forty days prior to his ascension (Acts 1:2-3)
- (12) At the Mount of Olives near Bethany at his ascension (Luke 24:50-51, Acts 1:6-12)
- (13) After his ascension, to Stephen the martyr (Acts 7:55-56)
- (14) To Saul on road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6, 1Corinthians 15:8-9)
- (15) To John on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9-19)