“The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” (Mark 9:31 NIV).
Mary stood near the cross of Jesus and watched as her beloved Son was crucified between two thieves. The disciples had spent three years with Jesus, breaking bread with Him, learning His teachings, witnessing His miracles, and then He was gone.
The disciples had watched as Jesus miraculously fed five-thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fish. They had witnessed Him raising Lazarus from the dead. They had seen Him defying nature by walking on water, stilling the storms and calming the seas. They had watched as Jesus restored sight to blind eyes, opened deaf ears, and healed the lame. They had heard Him preach before the multitudes, speaking words that astounded those who heard, and words that ultimately changed the world.
Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and found the tomb empty. Jesus had risen. The risen Christ appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. Mary went to the disciples and told them she had seen Jesus, but they were skeptical. On Sunday evening, the disciples gathered together behind locked doors, for fear of the Jewish authorities. Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you,” and He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were amazed and overjoyed at seeing Jesus. They spoke with Him, ate with Him, and touched His nail-pierced hands and wounded side.
The risen Christ appeared to more than five-hundred people at one time. Jesus commissioned the disciples to spread the gospel to all the nations of the world. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to help them carry out His mission. After forty days on earth, Jesus was taken up into Heaven, right before the disciple’s eyes, and seated at the right hand of the Father.
The disciples received the Holy Spirit and went forth boldly proclaiming the gospel. Christianity exploded in growth. The once frightened and skeptical disciples were now courageous apostles, full of faith and zeal, taking the message of the risen Christ to the world. They had witnessed the greatest miracle in all history, and they were forever changed. During times of persecution and peril, their commitment to Christ never wavered. They were willing to lay down their lives for Him.
Read more articles by Susan Ferguson or search for articles on the same topic or others.