Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. (John 11:25-26a)
Christ has risen! Yes, Christ is risen, indeed!
A couple of women went to the tomb where Jesus was laid. Jesus Christ died on cross after experiencing excuciating pains and thirst due to His bleeding from His head to His toes. It was not just a physical pain, but He was tormented, being separated from the Father God. Why? The wages of sin is death. Jesus died on cross for us.
For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a)
Yes, Jesus paid all on the cross. Due to His sacrifice, we are saved. All our sins are forgiven by His death on cross. Once for all, the curse of sins was smashed, and all became His sons and daughters once believing the most precious Good News, i.e., this Gospel. This was done by God out of His love toward us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
What does God want from us? Just believe Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior, who died for our sins on cross although He had no sin at all.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Because of Jesus’ death on cross, our eternal death has been paid by Jesus, and we have received the righteousness of God. Now, we can dwell with God without fear of death. After sinning against God, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God, but now we can come to God as His beloved sons and daughters. No more the darkness reigns over us. The bondage of our sins, which is so tightly clinging on us and pulling away from God, and throwing us into the darkest eternal condemnation, but this bondage is broken off from us. This is an amazing grace. However, this amazing grace is not the end of the story. Jesus Christ, who died for us, resurrected. He conquered the death and rose again. Then Jesus Christ became the first fruit, and gave us the same hope that we will all like Him. This is our faith. This is the reason why we are so happy on the last Easter Sunday.
It is also true that the above amazing truth is not easy to believe. Even Jesus’ disciples did not believe either. They were with Jesus three years by following Jesus wherever He went day and night. Jesus also mentioned His death and resurrection multiple times. Even on the last week before Jesus was arrested to be crucified, Jesus spent long time to explain what would happen to Him. But nobody really heard what Jesus told to them. All fell on deaf ears of the disciples. After the last supper with His disciples, Jesus was arrested at the place where Jesus used to pray with disciples. Immediately, all disciples fled. Peter, the bravest disciple, followed Jesus with some distance. However, when he was questioned, he denied Jesus. He even cursed Jesus. Then the rooster crowed as Jesus foretold. Peter immediately remembered what was told by Jesus, ran away into the night darkness, and wept bitterly alone. Jesus was crucified, and all disciples were in despair and in fear of being like Jesus. To protect themselves, they got together and hid themselves in one place.
On early Sunday morning after three days of Jesus’ death, two women went to the tomb, and found the tomb open. As the two women were wondering, angels appeared and told that Jesus was resurrected. The women quickly ran and told to the disciples. As hearing the women, Peter got up and ran to the tomb, but he could not see Jesus except the empty tomb. Being confused, Peter returned. The disciples continued hiding themselves in fear and confusion. They puzzled about what the empty tomb really meant. However, nobody did not remember what was told by Jesus – He would be resurrected three days later after His death.
On the evening of the same Sunday that Jesus Christ resurrected, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! Jesus said,
“Peace be with you,” (John 20:19b)
It was the first word from Jesus. Jesus comforted His disciples, who were in fear. Jesus’ peace came in the midst of fear. What a comfort they received! Yes, even today, Jesus is the source of comforting peace. Please look around the world. Is there true peace? The world that we live is full of things that we fear, like the current worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. Our lives are also continuously bombarded by financial difficulties, job loss, family issues, and broken relationships. What makes us really fearful of all of these are uncontrollable except being suffering. But in Him, it is opposite. We put all our burdens to Jesus and receives His peace, the true peace from above. Thus, His peace is not like anything of this world, which is temporary and at most superficial. The peace from Jesus also never changes, which stays forever with us. Nobody can steal this peace either because it resides deep in our heart, where nobody gets into and take away the peace of Jesus. Through Him, the peace is also continuously replenished day by day with all good things from above. Therefore, from no other places can we find this precious peace except Jesus.
Jesus, standing in the middle of the room, showed the disciples the wounds in His hands and His side. The disciples saw and touched the nail marks on His hands and the side pierced by a spear. It was not an illusion. They realized that Jesus was physically standing before them! Then the disciples were filled with joy of seeing the Lord again, who rose again from death! However, Thomas was not in the room with the other disciples.
On the same day, two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, about 11 Km (i.e., 7 miles) from Jerusalem. As they walked along, they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.
Jesus asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”
The two men shared about their thought on Jesus. Jesus was a prophet doing powerful miracles, and a mighty teacher. All hoped Jesus was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel from the Romans who occupied Israel at that time. For them, Jesus was the true hope to make them free again from the Romans. Ironically, their own priests and religious leaders, who supposedly helped the Messiah for Israel’s independence, handed the Messiah over to be crucified. Jesus, then, was killed on cross, and buried. That was the end of the story, and the end of their hope. Their hope for the Messiah was completely shattered by their own priests and religious leaders.
They continued, “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Then they shared the strange rumor going around in Jerusalem. Some women met angels at the tomb. The tomb was empty, and Jesus’ body was not there. The angels told the women that Jesus was alive. The two women could not believe what was told, and they ran down to the disciples. The disciples immediately ran up to the tomb, but the tomb was empty. Jesus’ body was not there. Then the disciples returned while puzzling about what had happened. The disciples were confused also. Thus, they were confused, and in disappointment and confusion, they were walking down to Emmaus.
Then Jesus said to the two men,
“You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (Luke 24:25b-26)
Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Even after hearing Jesus, the two men could not understand. Their hearts were covered with veil. They could not hear the truth. Yes, once we have an earthly veil on our hearts, it is practically impossible to hear, see, understand and accept the truth like the two men on the way to Emmaus.
Jesus was invited to dinner by the two men. Jesus, then, took the bread and blessed it. Then Jesus broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus.
This is how Jesus takes cares of His people. Jesus explained everything using the entire Scriptures. The two men still did not perceive Jesus. Then Jesus, touched their hearts as breaking the bread and sharing the bread with them. Finally, their eyes were open. Jesus never gives up even one single soul as Jesus gave a parable of one lost sheep:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15: 4-7)
Jesus came to the two men walking away from Jerusalem. They were completely disoriented and depressed. They hope for a Messiah of the world, but the Messiah was killed. Being disappointed, they left Jerusalem. However, Jesus did not let them alone. Jesus came to them. He was the shepherd who loved the two lost sheep heading down to Emmaus.
The two men said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were hurriedly on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter and other disciples.” The two men united with the disciples in joy.
Yes, all were in joy because of Jesus’ resurrection. Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, came late to the place. Thomas found all in the room were in joy. Thomas asked why. All replied. Jesus resurrected and appeared to them in person. Thomas could not believe what was told. Thomas through that all of them were irrational. He could not put up with the rest of the disciples and the two men from Emmaus any more. Thomas shouted, “I need a proof!” Then he said,
“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)
It was torturing eight days for Thomas. On the eighth day, the disciples were together. Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. Jesus said,
“Peace be with you,” (John 20: 26b)
Jesus repeated the same sentence to Thomas. As spoken to the other disciples, they received peace from above. Jesus stood before Thomas as his beloved shepherd, who searched for the lost sheep, Thomas. Jesus was about to hold Thomas in His bosom and to carry Thomas to the fold of Heaven, where there are no wolves and all other dangers.
Then Jesus 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 20:27b)
“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28a)
Thomas knelt down before Jesus. Thomas saw and touched the hands nailed and the side pierced by the Roman soldiers. In fact, Thomas touched his own sins while touching Jesus. Torn off was his doubting heart. Thomas confessed his unbelieving heart before Jesus. Jesus embraced Thomas with wide open arms. What a beautiful scene it was! Thomas truly experienced the love of Jesus, and Jesus once again gave His unchanging love to Thomas. Thomas found his heart was burning within him. Yes, Jesus is the love. His love never changes. He always loves us and finds us when we doubt like Thomas. What we need is to open our hearts, listen to Him and receive His love by kneeling down before Jesus. Confess our unbelief and ask His forgiveness. Jesus, full of mercy, surely forgives us and pour out His peace out of His never-ceasing love.
Yes, some might still in doubt that Jesus Christ was died for our sins, and resurrected on the third day. However, it is true. Jesus Christ was risen and He conquered death. It is time to come to Jesus. Open our hearts and receive Jesus as our own personal Savior. Even at this very moment, Jesus, our Savior, knocks on us. When we open our hearts, Jesus will come into our hearts, live with us while filling our hearts with His eternal and unchanging peace and love. Surely, Jesus in our hearts will answer all questions that we have. This beautiful relationship with Jesus, which has just started in us, will continue day after day, and forever till we see Him face to face in Heaven. This is our faith and hope. Give thanks to Jesus, who died for us and resurrected as the first fruit for all believers!
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)