“He has risen! He is not here.”
I had a relative who would occasionally drive me crazy by the way he would talk in circles. He intentionally spoke in a way that kept me guessing about what he was actually trying to say. For example he would say something such as, “Would you like to visit someone in the hospital?” but he wouldn’t tell me who was ill until I asked enough questions to drag it out of him.
I would then ask, “Who would you like me to visit?” His response might be, “Oh, I don’t want you to visit anyone.” Then I would ask, “Who wants me to visit them in hospital?” His response: “Well, I didn’t hear that they were asking for you.” After continuing to circle around the matter I would finally get the name of the cousin or aunt or whoever and go visit them.
While this game was entertaining for the person asking the questions it drove me crazy. However, as we examine all the statements about the resurrection of Jesus there is a very clear announcement evident in them that leaves no one in doubt about the message.
It is interesting to look at the resurrection appearances from one point of view. All of the announcements were crystal clear and yet the listeners were in doubt about what was said to them. They found in the very simple statements such as our verse today something that could not be believed. So what was said was easy to understand but hard to believe.
A curious fact concerning the resurrection of Jesus is that none of His followers were expecting a resurrection. The reason Jesus’ followers did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead was because they did not expect Him to die.
Another puzzling fact was that the disciples were hard to convince that Jesus was alive even when eyewitnesses told them that Jesus had been seen by them. At least one of the apostles was especially stubborn about the issue of Jesus’ resurrection.
The fact that one of Jesus’ followers was so sceptical that he was labelled a “doubter” adds to the credibility of the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection. The truth is that some of His followers were hard to convince about His resurrection, because it was in fact an incredible thing!
The fact that some of them doubted confirms the honesty of the writers of the Gospels that they would confess their disbelief in the resurrection and yet expect us to accept their story. The writers of the Gospels really expect us to believe them in spite of their sin of unbelief.
Why not tell someone today about how you believe the Easter story and tell them the benefits of accepting the fact that Jesus is alive from the dead. You need not be a skilled preacher to say an appropriate word for the Lord. He is indeed risen as He said. Let us make clear and simple statements that Jesus is alive and see where the conversation goes.