I am curious. Jesus spent a month-and-a-half on the planet after his resurrection and there are few details of this time. If I were writing the story I would have interviewed Jesus and recorded what he experienced on the cross, in the tomb, and what it feels like to come back from death. But, the Bible is silent on these things. I also would have encouraged Jesus to make an appearance to Caiaphas or Pilate just to make sure they knew that they were wrong and he was right. How awesome would it be to show up at Caiaphas’ or Pilate’s breakfast table just to see the look on their face?
The Bible records very few appearances of the resurrected Jesus. The more I think about this the more sense it makes. Think about the people Jesus did appear to…his loved ones. Jesus made sure that his closest friends saw him, heard from him, and had an opportunity to spend time with him. Jesus made sure that his disciples knew he was ok, that he was not dead, and that his resurrection had changed everything. Imagine being the disciples in that locked room on the night of Easter. Hiding because they are gripped with fear, disappointment, and uncertainty. A week before they had walked into Jerusalem to cheering crowds. They thought they were part of a coronation in which Jesus would be crowned king and bring peace to Jerusalem. In less than a week, the entire city turns on Jesus, arrests him, convicts him at trial, and brutally murders him. In the aftermath of Jesus arrest all of the disciples scatter. To make matters worse, the disciples are scared that the Jewish leaders want to kill them to. The empty tomb is so unbelievable that the Jewish leaders accuse his disciples of stealing the body. Their situation is grave. They are gripped by suffocating fear, oppressive despair, and immense confusion. And then it happens…
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you [John 20.19]!”
Jesus doesn’t waste his remaining precious moments proving Herod and Pilate wrong. Jesus, filled with grace, love, forgiveness, and comfort seeks out the men and women who loved him, believed in him, and grieved for him. He wants them to know that it is going to be ok. That he is alive and preparations are underway for the greatest movement the world has ever witnessed. Jesus mobilizes these men and women to launch His Church. A movement so profound that it has stood the test of time, in spite of all its failures and frailties. Jesus channeled that fear, despair, disappointment, and confusion into hope. His death transformed these witnesses to launch the first church and proclaim the message of Jesus. A message of forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, and hope to the world.
The hope of the world is that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive. Commit today to pray that your church leaders would receive wisdom, courage, and the faith to continue building Jesus’ church. Pray that God would provide opportunities for you to join the movement and invest your gifts and talents to do the same. May the church grow with an ever increasing number of our fellow humans who are deeply in love with Jesus and his ways!-Dan Wright