Authored by Mary Lucas
Read:  Matthew 28: 1-7
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.  The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’”

In 1963 a young girl by the name of Addie Mae Collins was killed when the church she was in was bombed in a terrorist attack.   In 1998, the Collins family requested that Addie Mae’s body be exhumed and moved to another cemetery. But her body was not in the spot where it was presumed to be – the body was missing. There were lots of suggestions about what happened to the body of Addie Mae but no one suggested she had been resurrected to walk the earth again. Why? Because by itself, an empty grave does not a resurrection make.
The empty tomb by itself is not evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.  The question is if, after he died, did he appear to anyone?  Dead people normally don’t do that! Jesus appeared to many people after his death.
I heard that if all the individuals whom Jesus appeared to after he died were cross examined for 15 minutes each it would take from breakfast Monday until dinner on Friday to get through them all. After listening to 129 straight hours of eyewitness testimony I think no one could walk away unconvinced of the resurrection!  Some of these individuals were the disciples who were hiding in fear one day and then boldly proclaiming Jesus as risen.  Eleven of the twelve disciples were eventually martyred for their faith.  No one would be willing to die for a lie!  They had truly seen Jesus alive and knew for certain that he was the Son of God!
But why is the resurrection so important?  This became real to me several years ago.  Patti H. was a good family friend and very special to me because she looked after my twin sons in the hospital after they were born.  She was a lovely Christian woman, married to Sandy (another wonderful person) and they had four children. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a young age.  I prayed that God would heal her and I believed He would.  I couldn’t understand why He would take such a wonderful person early in her life.  In 2015 Patti died just before Christmas.  I remember being angry with God.  “Why didn’t You heal her?” I asked.  “Why?”  It was then that I heard God’s voice say to me “I did heal her”.  I then realized that He had answered my prayer.  She was fully healed.  Because of the resurrection!
As Christians, we no longer have to fear death, because we have an incredible hope – the hope that one day we will be with God forever. It’s not a “hope so” hope, it’s a “know so” hope.  If Jesus was raised, Pattie will be raised.  And I will be someday too.  Then I will see them both. 
In John 11: 25-26 Jesus said “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.”


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