The sun rose over the hills as the morning light warmed Jerusalem. The elderly grandfather stood outside his humble home, watching the sun rise while stretching his sore muscles and moving joints stiffened from the night of sleep. He smiled and breathed in the fresh air that was always crisp this early in the day, before the streets got dusty with the commotion of the city. Despite his aches and pains, he felt more alive than ever!
You see, it had been several months since that amazing encounter, yet the details ran through his mind every morning, as clearly as if it had happened yesterday …
The old man had been repairing the broken door on his house when he heard someone from down the street call his name. He looked up and could hardly believe who it was. It was Jesus, the Teacher, and, according to some, the Messiah! The Teacher was walking toward him with some of His followers. Jesus approached the surprised man, smiled, and then proceeded to have a casual yet meaningful conversation with him. They had never met before, yet Jesus somehow knew his name and asked about his children, his grandchildren, and the soreness in his back from the carpentry injury years ago.
The elderly man was taken aback: Jesus knew his name and both knew and cared about the small details of his life. What was even more remarkable than that was, well, you see, Jesus was supposed to be… dead. Jesus had died. The man had been there and had actually seen, with his own eyes, Jesus take His last breath. He had watched Jesus’ followers take down His broken body from the cross. There was no doubt about it: He had been dead.
The shocked grandfather, staring at Jesus, remembered that the third day after the burial, rumors had circulated that the body was missing. Some even claimed Jesus had risen from the dead. The man had wanted to believe that this incredible miracle was true, but he couldn’t quite embrace it. He didn’t want to get his hopes up. He didn’t want to sound foolish to his friends and family. However, those excuses and doubts fled his mind on that astounding day when Jesus showed up at his house. There’s something about receiving a hearty hug and a kiss from a formerly dead person that tends to have that effect!
After friendly conversation, Jesus had prayed with and for the old man before He went on with His day. Jesus prayed that this man would continue to see and know the true God and allow himself to be known by God— and, in doing so, experience the abundant, eternal life humans are made for. During that prayer, the old grandfather felt his heart well up with love, energy, and joy that he had never experienced before! He felt like a kid again! After that prayer, as he watched the Messiah walk away down the road, he knew he would never be the same …
And on this cool, bright morning, as the bleating of an awakened sheep snapped his mind back to the here-and-now, the man just smiled and shook his head with amazement for the thousandth time since his encounter with the risen Lord. For he knew that Jesus, God with us, had been dead but now was alive. But resurrection did not just stop there … for he himself had been dead for most of his life, but through Jesus, he too had come alive!
“The Bible says that Jesus made a number of appearances after His death. They were to a number of different people over a forty day period. The Bible specifically says that on Easter Sunday Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the women who came to Jesus’ tomb (Mary the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna), Peter, and two disciples on the Emmaus road. He also appeared to the remainder of the Twelve Disciples with Thomas absent. Later He appeared to them with Thomas present. There was also an appearance to seven disciples on the Sea of Galilee. On another occasion He appeared to over five hundred people at the same time. There is also an appearance to James. Finally Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus—the man who became the Apostle Paul. These appearances convinced His disciples, beyond any doubt, that He had risen from the dead.”