MIF 5:2 (Mar-Apr 1973)
A Day of Miracles
Even before dawn one of the greatest of all miracles had occurred — the triumphant resurrection of the Lord. Soon after, the displaced stone, the folded grave clothes, the angelic visitors, and the empty tomb gave miraculous proof the body of Jesus was gone. But all these could not demonstrate that Jesus was alive again. A living, vibrant personality must re-appear to those who had known Him best before His crucifixion.
And so, on that resurrection day our Lord appeared miraculously on five occasions.
1. He appeared to one grief-stricken (John 20:11-17, Mark 16:9-11). Mary Magdalene, while it was still dark, searched for “the body of my Lord.” To her the risen Saviour first appeared, turning her grief to joy.
2. He appeared next to obedient ones (Mark 16:1-8, Matt. 28:1-10, Luke 23:55 to 24:11). As the other women hastened with the angelic message, “He… is risen!”, Jesus Himself met them. In that meeting they worshipped. From that meeting they went on, reassured and recommissioned.
3. He appeared later to a contrite backslider (Luke 24:33-35, 1 Cor. 15:5). Peter had earlier deserted and denied his Lord with shocking curses. Then, at Jesus’ glance, the realization of the awfulness of his actions had sent him away weeping bitter tears. Nothing is known of that later private meeting on that resurrection Sunday. We can only marvel at the grace and love of the Lord in seeking out His crushed disciple.
4. Later He appeared to two confused and disappointed disciples (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-35). They had been so certain that Jesus was the Messiah and that Israel’s redemption was at hand. Was Jesus not the Messiah? Was their understanding of prophecy wrong? Why stay at Jerusalem now? Then, on that journey of despair, Jesus met them, taught them, broke bread with them, and reversed both their despair and their journey.
5. Finally, the Lord appeared to the fearful and doubting apostles (Luke 24:33-43, John 20:19-25) gathered secretly, “for fear of the Jews.” Suddenly, Jesus was right there! It could not really be true; it must be a spirit. But the wounds of the crucifixion finally settled every doubt, then they “were glad when they saw the Lord.”
Our Lord’s appearances that day brought to His sorely-tried disciples joy, belief, worship and new-found vigour.
And Jesus still appears today, not now to sight but to the eye of faith. Where there is grief, or contrition, or disappointment or fear, or any other problem, Jesus wants to “draw near” to bring the blessing and joy of a fresh encounter with Him.