As we enter the Easter season, I have been reflecting on the unexpected encounters that happened on that first Easter – the weekend when Jesus was crucified and miraculously rose from the dead.
There was the encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders (John 18:19). There was then the encounter between Jesus and Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:11). One of the most profound encounters of that first Easter happened after Jesus had been crucified.
A lone women was standing in a garden when she sees a man who appears to be a gardener. But when John tells the story he lets us in on a secret, he writes, “she saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t realize it was Jesus.” (John 20:14). Until he said one simple word to her: “Mary”. Jesus spoke her name, and instantly she knew. He knew her name, and she knew His voice! The Bible says she instantly responded “My teacher, My Lord”. We are told at that moment Mary falls to her knees and she reaches out to touch Jesus’ feet as an act of worship.
His friends and family had just seen him killed. Their hopes and dreams for Him, and themselves had been crushed. John writes, “they still did not understand from the scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” (John 20:9). The followers of Jesus could be described as disheartened, dismayed, disappointed, disillusioned and dis-spirited.
Mary then did what anyone would do whose life had just been turned upside down — she ran to tell everyone she could the good news, that Jesus has risen from the dead. Historians call Mary, “the apostle to the apostles” because she was the very first to tell others the good news of the risen Christ.
As a matter of historical record, the same group of people that was disheartened suddenly became convinced that Jesus had been resurrected. Out of their conviction, they became motivated to spread the true and good news that Jesus had risen from the dead — at enormous cost to themselves.
Message of Hope
This news is worth proclaiming because Jesus’ victory to death gives us hope and a promise for the future.
I pray that this weekend is truly a deep and meaningful encounter for each of you as we reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Would you recognize Jesus for who he truly is – the Messiah, the King of Kings, and the hope of glory.
There is no greater message of hope and love in this world but that Jesus, the Son of God has died and risen from the dead. He conquered not only death, but even the gates of Hell, so that we might be reconciled to God and experience true life in Him.
This message of hope is the sole purpose behind proclaiming the good news of Jesus as we acknowledge and celebrate the resurrection. This news is worth proclaiming because Jesus’ victory to death gives us hope and a promise for the future; our debt of sin was erased (Romans 8:1). This news is what gives our partners the motivation to proclaim with conviction and assurance that Jesus Christ is alive!