One great proof of our Lord’s resurrection is the work He performed on the day He arose. Though the sheep were all scattered when the Shepherd was smitten (Zech. 13:7. Matt. 26:31. Mark 14:50), He sought them throughout the day of resurrection until, at its close, they were all gathered round Him once again.
What He did THAT day has been repeated many times since, and will yet be repeated till He comes for His own bye and bye.
A Sorrowing Heart
In her devotion, Mary Magdalene sorrowed above all others for her crucified Lord. With her sorrowing heart, she was the first object of His search; He first revealed Himself to her (John 20:11-18).
“They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him,” was her grief-stricken cry. Without Him, the whole world was black. Not even a vision of angels could solace her, for she wanted Him, and HIM ALONE!
Her desire and devotion exceeded her physical strength as she said, “Tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Then to the sorrowing heart of Mary, the Lord first ministered His resurrection grace; turning sorrow to joy, tears to laughter, and mourning to gladness. Calling His own sheep by name (John 10:3), Jesus said to her, “Mary!” Then she knew Him, and sorrow vanished!
Immediately, He commissioned her to renewed service, saying, “Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.”
Sorrowing hearts! The world is full of them. But here is One, the risen Lord, Who has ministered for centuries to multitudes, Who can bring grace and pardon in redemptive power. Sorrow, the result of sin, covers the earth; but praise God for the power of His Son to bring the joy of forgiveness.
Right now, He is ready to minister to every heart sorrowing for sin; “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). And to sorrowing saints, Who but the Risen Lord can minister the comfort so greatly needed in the midst of trial? Thank God He lives, and lives for us!
A Soiled Conscience
On the resurrection morn, the angel had said, “Tell His disciples AND PETER.” (Mark 16:7). Why the special message for Peter? Peter’s was a very soiled conscience, for fellowship between him and his Lord had been broken through his denial of the Saviour. And the soiled conscience was the next object of the Lord’s risen ministry.
Bitter tears of remorse had flowed for the disciple’s heart was broken when he realized his sin. Yet who can forgive like Christ? The great tender heart of the Son of God planned a reconciliation.
When it happened and where, we shall never know unless the Lord or Peter tells us some day. But there was a meeting, we know. Blessed reconciliation: “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” (Lk. 24:34). Peter was restored, his soiled conscience cleansed! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!!
Saint or sinner — have you a soiled conscience? A secret meeting with the risen Lord will settle it all. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And who but our risen Lord could deal with a guilty conscience in the power of His own blood? “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Even today, multitudes of soiled consciences on the earth can experience the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ. “How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience” (Heb. 9:14).
On the resurrection day, two disciples were walking the Emmaus road of doubt, despair, discouragement, and disillusionment (Lk. 24: 13-35). They, too, were the objects of the Lord’s tender care that day.
As they dragged their weary hearts and feet back home, they believed that all was finished! Christ their Master had died! He was not to be found, not even His body could be located! Where He was, they knew not; their hopes had died with Him!
But the great, good Shepherd had to bring these two back as well, so “Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.” What a change the living Saviour wrought as He spoke to those straying ones: straying from Jerusalem the divine centre; straying from His Word; and, of course, from Himself. First, He brought them back to the Scriptures, then to Himself, and lastly to Jerusalem where, with new joy, new strength, and a new message, they hastened to tell others, “He is risen!”
Still He walks the Emmaus road with His people today. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” is His promise (Heb. 13:5-6). He is living today, and with every believer He walks the daily path of life. If you are straying from Him, let Him now minister to your heart and bring you back into fellowship with Himself.
If you are a straying sinner, listen to His tender love pleading with your soul, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He is still the seeking Shepherd, seeking the straying sheep, and seeking the lost ones. Blessed be His Name!
The Final Result
As the fearful disciples gathered in Jerusalem behind closed doors, “the same day at evening, being the first day of the week… came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you” (John 20:19-23).
The risen Lord was again in the midst of His sheep, and those who had been scattered were gathered again to their beloved Shepherd: Mary Magdalene, Peter, the pair from Emmaus, and all the others too. Hallelujah! They were all around Himself once more. No wonder it was written, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” They were glad to see Him alive; and He, no doubt, was glad to see them gathered again around Him.
And this is His desire every resurrection day — every Lord’s Day — every first day of the week: His own around Himself, in worship, love and praise; in happy fellowship and joy. What a contrast can be seen in such gatherings of men and women who once possessed sorrowing hearts, soiled consciences, and straying feet. After redeeming grace has brought them from the paths of sin and sorrow, to gather them in love and gratitude about His person, what a picture is seen of that great meeting in Heaven, when His saints will be gathered around Himself, forever removed from the sorrows of life, the sin of earth, and the crooked paths of this world; never again to grieve, or sin, or wander. What a prospect!
But in the meantime, the risen Lord still desires to reach the multitudes on every hand, with sorrowful hearts, soiled consciences, and straying feet. Are we helping Him to fulfil this ministry?
“As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). By His grace, may we minister to needy souls in the power of His resurrection and bring them back to Himself.
The resurrection ministry begun on the day He arose still goes on today. And it MUST go on, with His people serving in His absence until He comes again.