Most of Christendom celebrates what is known as Easter as the day Jesus rose from the dead. Personally, every day is a great day to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua. What He did 2,000 years ago was the price of complete and permanent atonement for my own personal sin. I really don’t care one way or another about identifying a specific day to commemorate this earth shattering real event of history. For me, every day is Resurrection Day.
If you know anything about the way Disciple Daily trains disciples who make disciples, you know that we are story tellers. These stories are not ours. They are found in the Bible. They belong to everyone. Here is our rendition of the greatest story ever told. It is the story of that first Resurrection Day. Learn to tell it often.
I Have Seen Him!
There was evening and there was morning. It was Friday, the day of preparation for the coming Shabbat. All through the night, Yeshua was taken from place to place. From the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus traveled down the Kidron Valley to Caiaphas’ home where the high priest’s puppets, the Sanhedrin, would subject Him to an illegal trial. In the middle of the night he was taken to Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas. No one found any proof of Jesus’s guilt, nothing worthy of the death the Jewish leaders were demanding for the perfect Passover Lamb. Jesus was returned to Pilate and his soldiers. The prophetically ordained plot to kill Yeshua was unfolding, just as the Scriptures said it would. Under the cover of darkness, evil men did what God had planned all along.
As dawn broke an ugly mob cried, “Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate ordered Yeshua to be whipped until His entire body was an open wound. He was taken to the “Place of the Skull” where He was crucified. Metal stakes were driven through the wrists of the miracle working King of the Jews. Nailed to a crossbar, it was lifted into place on the tree where Yeshua would die. For six hours, He endured the shame and penalty of your sin and mine. The only innocent in all of this ugliness was Jesus. No one was innocent in His death. Not then, not now. Not the Gentiles, not the Jews. Not me, not you.
On a busy road outside the walls of Jerusalem, somewhere near the place where Abraham had almost sacrificed his only son, God took the life of His. From the depths of His agony, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world cried, “Eli! El! Lama sabachtani? My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” God’s holiness required that someone die as the payment for the personal rebellion of each man, woman, girl, and boy. There is no other avenue of escape for one’s personal sin. An innocent has to die. It has always had to be this way since the Garden of Eden. Nothing has changed
As Friday’s end approached at sunset, when the day of Sabbath rest would dawn, all that God required of Jesus was completed. With His final breath Yeshua proclaimed, “Tetelesti! It is finished!” Without a single bone of His body broken, Jesus was taken down from the tree and buried in a rich man’s tomb, a tomb that had never been used before. All of this was to fulfill the demands of the Hebrew Scriptures.
There was evening and there was morning. It was the second day, the Shabbat. Those who had followed Yeshua wrestled with their broken dreams. What had happened? How could they have been so wrong, what was to become of them? They hid themselves away from family, friends, and the authorities. It was the day of rest. It was the day for the Jewish people to contemplate all that God had done on their behalf and praise Him for His goodness. For those who had followed Yeshua, there was no rest found on the second day.
There was evening and there was morning, the third day. While it was still dark, before the sun began to rise on the first day of the week, some women returned to the rich man’s tomb in the quiet garden. One of them said, “Look! The stone is rolled away. What has happened here? Let’s look inside!”
An angel appeared to them saying, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.”
With fear and with great joy, they ran to report what they had discovered to Jesus’s disciples. On their way back into the city, Jesus met them. The women fell at His feet and worshipped Him. He said, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for the Galilee, and there they will see Me.” When they reported what they had seen, Jesus’s closest friends would not believe.
Later, that same day, two of Jesus’s discouraged disciples were headed home to Emmaus. A man joined them asking, “What are these things you are discussing?” Astonished, they replied, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here?” Yeshua answered, “What things?” One the disciples was named Cleopas. Together, they recounted all that had happened to the One they had once believed to be the long awaited Son of David, their Jewish Messiah. They told the stranger about how Jesus had died and where he had been buried. They concluded by telling their new companion the story that the women had told the others regarding the empty tomb.
As they got closer to Emmaus, the man started with “In the beginning.” From the first lines of Genesis through all that Moses and the prophets had said concerning the coming Son of God, the man reminded Cleopas and his friend of the things the Hebrew Bible said would come true concerning Messiah’s first appearing.
Something was stirring within the two as they listened to the words of the stranger. As the sun began to set, they invited the man to stay the night with them and to share their supper. They went inside and sat down to eat. The man took the bread in His hands and blessed it. “Baruch atah Adonai, Elohenu, Melech HaOlam. Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the Universe, who gives us bread from the earth.” Suddenly, their eyes were opened. They recognized the One who was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread, just as Micah had prophesied. In an instant, He was gone. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to use on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” They got up and ran all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the eleven what had happened. “The Lord has really risen!”
From that day until this one, those who have met the risen Lord have told this story to everyone who will listen.
The Lord has really risen. I have seen Him! Is your heart burning within you?