Resurrection Sunday. Just over a week ago, the first strange rumor began: Jesus Christ had come to Jerusalem. And what a week it was! Like nothing ever seen before! Now there is another strange rumor, again about this man called Jesus. It is said that He is alive! How is that possible?!
On the day following the Sabbath, once it was light out, three women went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried on Friday. They were there out of love for Him. They had come to anoint His body, to honor Him. They were grieving. They had lost their friend and teacher, a Man whom they had seen perform impossible miracles and preach of love, forgiveness, and compassion.
When they arrived, they were shocked to see that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. Who would have done such a thing?! Had His body been taken? Mutilated? Destroyed? Then they saw an angle. They were afraid. The angle told them not to fear and not to grieve. Jesus had risen and was alive! The women were shocked. They did not know what to say! The angle further instructed the women to go and tell the disciples, especially Peter, that Jesus had arisen, and that they were to meet Him at the designated location.
Jesus remembered Peter. He had spent nearly three years with him and knew how he reacted to situations. Jesus knew that Peter had denied Him. He knew how Peter felt and reacted upon realizing what he had done. He remembered Peter and wanted Peter to know that he had been forgiven and was wanted in Galilee.
Jesus met with His disciples who, upon realizing He was not a ghost, rejoiced. Those who had doubted He lived could verify the truth for themselves, by touching His wounds.
Jesus was not to stay on this earth, though. He was to return to Heaven to be with His Father and prepare a place for all who would follow Him. Jesus came back, not only to show that He had indeed risen from the dead, but also to give His disciples their final instructions. The disciples had completed their training. They were ready. Jesus' final instructions were to go out into all the world and share the good news: eternal salvation through heartfelt belief in Jesus Christ! That remains our charge today. We are now the disciples!
We are saved through our belief that Jesus Christ took our sins - all of them! - upon Himself. Jesus, the perfect man who never sinned in His life, was willing to die for you, for me, for your friends, your family, your neighbor, your enemy. He was willing to take the punishment we deserved upon Himself. We are saved not only because He died but because He rose!
He was not a mere mortal man. He could not be kept down by death. Death, to Him, was not the finality, but another part of His mission to achieve salvation for all mankind.