The Best Good News: Easter Sunday Reflections

by mcardinal

In today’s world, we rely heavily on the media as an information source on current events all around the globe. A story is easily discredited without at least a few highly credible sources covering the topic. 

Thinking back to the time of Jesus, one can easily imagine that news sources were judged in a way similar to now. I can picture the possible scene where news of His resurrection started to buzz in a somber Jerusalem; at the time, Jesus’ followers and loved ones were still in the early stages of shock and mourning over His death. On top of this, they were wrestling with the fact that they believed in Him when many others mocked. His death highlighted how their expectations did not match the reality of what the Messiah came to be and do. For many, this was surely a moment of shaken faith.

 Word started spreading of possible vandalism and tomb robbery of Jesus’ tomb… then there was talk of a heavenly being where the stone was rolled away!? This all sounds so improbable, that even Jesus’ own disciples, the ones who trusted him most, didn’t believe the reports until they experienced the risen man for themselves.

Today’s reporting of such events might look something like this: 

“Town officials noted that, although evidence points to a robbery, the thief appears to have stopped to neatly fold the burial clothes. Some witnesses in town are claiming that Jesus fulfilled the scripture prophecy. Two of those eyewitnesses we talked to, Mary Magdalene and Mary, told our reporters that an angel appeared to them. Mary Magdalene said they went to his tomb at dawn on the first day of the week…” 

Mark 16

The Resurrection

16 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

9 [Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

     The Great Commission

14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

“One man has been resurrected from the dead, and belief in Him will lead to eternal salvation”.

This declaration is so otherworldly that it would have been a near-impossible narrative for early Christians to share under normal circumstances. Why convey this logic-defying account unless they believed it had actually happened the way they say?

Something significant happened that turned the doubting disciples into bold apostles proclaiming the story of a risen Messiah for which they were willing to be mocked, tortured, or even killed. 

1 John 1 

“1 … we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.”

The Bible says that Jesus appeared to nearly 500 people in various locations for almost seven weeks after His crucifixion. This news started spreading throughout the towns and villages of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. 

When the disciples saw, they overcame their doubt. They believed and felt compelled to share the account with others. Thousands of years after the resurrection, people are still telling the story. The best good news story we will ever hear is the one of Jesus. He brings revival, life, and peace to those who believe, and He will continue to captivate us in this world, and into eternity.

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