But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:1-12
Today Christians all over the world are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. This event is the pivotal event in all history. It changed the world. It even changed our calendars. It changed the day Jewish followers of Jesus worshiped. It changed the lives of the apostles. It changed the life of Paul and it changed my life. Without the resurrection my faith and the faith of Christians all over the world is in vain. As Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Without the resurrection we are wasting our time in church and I am wasting my time writing this. However, the good news is that the resurrection happened. Jesus has risen, He has risen indeed.
How am I so sure? The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus are the best attested events in all ancient history. The Gospel accounts once again have the ring of truth. Who were the first to witness the empty tomb, women? Who is the first person to witness the risen Christ, Mary Magdalene? To the eleven disciples this would be most embarrassing. Why? They would be embarrassed because it was women rather than men who were the first witnesses. In first century Jewish culture women were not considered credible witnesses; they were not allowed to testify in court. If the Gospels were fiction then it would have been Peter or John or James who were there at the tomb. Instead they are relegated to a secondary role.
Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!
Have a blessed resurrection Sunday.
Footnote: What I find amazing about the Christian faith is that it is not only a faith of the heart but a faith of the mind. And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 ESV)