Happy Easter to everybody.

He is risen; yes He is risen indeed!

Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!  (Luke 24:5b-6a)

Jesus came this world to serve, not to be served.   He was the true King, but He did not demand.   He gave everything including His own life.   After all, this was His mission on earth to be the sacrificial Lamb of God to forgive our sins.  He gave His unending love His people. However one of His disciple betrayed Him, and Jesus was handed over to the zealous religious leaders.   They pressured Pilate, the Roman governor of the land of Israel at that time, to crucify Jesus on cross.  Jesus knew all these before His crucifixion, but He loved His disciples and His people to the end.   On the cross, He asked forgiveness of those who were crucifying Him.   He offered paradise to one of the robbers, who asked His mercy.   He endured the extreme thirst and pain for only one reason – to save us with His own blood in His love.  At His last breath, He said “It is finished!”  Then He bowed His head and released his spirit.  This was the moment that all of our sins forgiven.   Yes, all of our sins are forgiven completely.    Those who truly believe Jesus as the Savior are free from the eternal condemnation of sins.

Darkness fell across the whole land for three hours from noon to three while Jesus was on the cross.  At moment of His death, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  There was an earth quake.  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened before their eyes. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)    Jesus body was wrapped in a long sheet of clean linen cloth.  His body was placed it in a new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock for Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea and a follower of Jesus.  Then a great stone was rolled in across the entrance.   It was Friday evening.
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate.  They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’  So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”    Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.”  So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. (Matthew 27:65-66)
Early on Sunday morning, a while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene and other women came to the tomb where Jesus was laid.   They found that the seal was broken, and the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  The stone could be weighted one to two tons (about 2000-4000 lbs.), which needed multiple people to move. 
Mary and other women was surprised and frightened.    Despite of their fear, they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.  As they stood there puzzled, because they were only able to notice the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.  Then two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (Luke 24:5b-7)

Then they remembered that he had said this.   So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened.   But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.
Mary insisted, and Peter and John disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but John outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in.  Then Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.  Then John who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—  for until then Peter and John still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.  They started believing Jesus’ resurrection as Jesus told.   However, they could not see the Jesus who were resurrected with their eyes.   There were in awe, and returned home.
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.  The leaders were looking for the disciples to arrest and kill them also.   Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” He said.  (John 20:19b)  As Jesus spoke, He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side.  Yes, finally, they saw Jesus risen from the dead!  They were filled with joy.   All of the fears melt away before Jesus, the Risen Lord.   They saw Jesus was crucified.  They also could vividly remember His dead body that was carried away from the cross and buried in tomb.  Now, in front of them, Jesus was there, who was standing and talking to them again.   Exactly as Jesus told before the dead on the cross, Jesus lived again from the dead.  

Unfortunately, one of the disciples, Thomas, as not with the others when Jesus came.  They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But Thomas replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” (John 20:25b)  Thomas was rational and had a logical mind like many of us.   Without proof, he could not believe.

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (John 20:27) 

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
Finally, Thomas confessed His unbelief and believed Jesus as His Lord and God.   This is the love of Jesus shown to Thomas and today to many of us, who are doubting.    Jesus personally came to Thomas to let him touch His body and His wounds.  Jesus knew this would make Thomas believe.   Yes, Jesus restored Thomas’ faith.  Jesus loved His disciples and His people on the cross, and He also loved them including the doubting Thomas after His resurrection.  Why?  He was love.   It is also true that He loves us today, and finds those who doubt to restore faith.    His love has never changed and will not be changed.    His love endures forever.
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29)
This is the blessing to us who has not seen Jesus.   Yes, we have not seen Him, but we believe Him.   Our faith does not depend on what we see and touch.  Our faith is founded on the cross and the Risen Lord, which is given freely to us.  This is the greatest gift and blessing that we can imagine.   Give praise the Risen Lord!    He became the first fruit of all of us.    Our old-self has been crucified with Jesus Christ on the cross, and with the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday, we are resurrected as the new in Christ, and we will live forever with Him.   Praise the Risen Lord, and sing hallelujah with our loudest voice.   Hallelujah!   He is risen.  Yes, He is risen indeed!

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”(John 11:25b)

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