I’m doubting everything I hear or read these days, unless I can verify it from at least three different sources.
The early disciples and followers of Jesus were no different. They’d spent 3 years with him and he had repeatedly told him that he would be killed and raised in three days. Some of the stories were a little less clear, but others were right to the point.
John 2:18-19: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
Matthew 16:21: “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Matthew 20:17-19: “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
On the Sunday after the Crucifixion it must have seemed like just a lot of “fake news”. Mary Magdalene doesn’t recognize Jesus until he speaks her name. Peter and John come running and are perplexed by an empty tomb. Later that day, Cleopas and a friend are on the way to Emmaus when they are talking of their sadness of the crucifixion. Surely they had heard the morning news that Jesus’ body was gone! But they walked many miles with Him and did not realize who he was until he broke the bread at supper. It wasn’t until a week later that Thomas put his hand in Christ’s side before he would believe.
Perhaps we feel it is fake news, too. Easter is a great holiday for celebrating Spring with family and friends, but do we really believe that Christ has risen from the dead?
We should give our Easter celebration a little more time. Like the early Christians we should doubt until we have seen for ourselves the risen Christ.
Thirty-nine days after Easter we will celebrate Ascension Thursday. It is believed that on this day the risen Christ took his disciples to the Mount of Olives and they saw him taken up into the heavens. It serves as a symbol of Christ’s triumphant rising over evil in opening the kingdom of heaven to all people.
I pray that in the next 39 days, we will see for ourselves that Christ is risen and a savior to us all. Don’t believe the news until you can see it, feel it, and hear it for yourself. Seek and ye shall find.