SUNDAY STUDY: Easter Sunday 2019

By Dale Mason,

Before sunrise on Sunday, a great earthquake shook Jerusalem’s countryside. As darkness slowly gave way to dawn on the morning we now joyfully celebrate as Easter, a group of women made their way to Jesus’ tomb to complete the burial preparations of His body. But when they arrived, the stone that had covered the opening was already rolled away.

The women did not know that soldiers, who were on duty only minutes earlier, trembled and fainted when a mighty angel who looked like lightning rolled the huge rock from the door.

They did not know that the guards scattered when they awoke and saw a gleaming white being atop the stone, in clothes as bright as snow. Instead, the women only saw the open tomb, and assumed Jesus’ body had been stolen.

Mary Magdalene, a leader among them, immediately ran to tell Peter and John. But the rest of the women looked inside the open sepulcher. To their great surprise, there were two angels, and one shared the most important fulfilled prophesy of all time — Jesus had risen!
Death could not hold Him, for He truly was the Son of God, Christ the Messiah!

With joy and fear, the astonished women ran to tell the other disciples. Peter and John raced toward the tomb, probably from nearby Jerusalem west of the Garden. Mary Magdalene followed. The two men immediately went inside, but saw only the grave clothes and quickly left.

Now alone and still thinking Jesus’ body was stolen, Mary Magdalene stood weeping. However, when she bent and looked in, two angels in white were sitting where His body had been. Then when she turned, there was Jesus!

Mary Magdalene was the first person to whom Jesus appeared. Then while she ran to tell the disciples, He appeared to the group of women as well.

Within minutes, the disciples began to hear reports of Jesus’ missing body, accusations that they had stolen it, and astonishing news of His appearance to various women. Scripture even reveals that immediately after Jesus arose, numerous dead saints arose from their graves as well. They walked throughout Jerusalem, appearing to many!

The terror and jubilation that ensued must have spread the news of Jesus’ Resurrection
like wildfire.

Later that same day, two of Jesus’ followers were going from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus. As they talked about the incredible things that had happened, Jesus joined them.

While they walked, He explained what the Old Testament says about Him, but they were prevented from recognizing Him until dinner that evening. Then He vanished, and the two disciples immediately returned to Jerusalem. There, great excitement was in the air because Jesus had also appeared to Simon Peter.

All of the Apostles except Thomas and the betrayer Judas Iscariot were there behind locked doors, fearful of the Jewish leaders. While the disciples were talking about these things, Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst. Now, thinking Him a spirit, they were even
more terrified!

But He calmed them, showed them His wounds, and ate with them.

A week later, Jesus came to the disciples again, and now Thomas believed.

During the next month, He appeared to Peter and six others as they fished from a boat in the Sea of Galilee. Later, the 11 met with Him on a Galilean mountain. That may have been the occasion Paul references in 1 Corinthians, an amazing day on which over 500 brethren saw the risen Jesus at one time.

After that, He appeared to His half-brother, James. Then in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to the Apostles one last time and commissioned the 11 to go into all the world.

Finally, He led them out to Bethany at the Mount of Olives and there, 40 days after His Resurrection, He lifted His hands, blessed them, and ascended through the clouds into heaven.

As they stood watching, two angels appeared and revealed that Jesus will return in the same way He was taken up. Those who know Jesus as Savior eagerly anticipate that amazing day!

Pray with us:

“Jesus, Your Resurrection — Your victory over death — is the key to life here and in heaven! Without it, Christianity would be just another religion launched by a man who
is now dead. But if we repent and receive You as Savior, You give salvation. Though the process of dying may be frightening — especially if we experience pain, which
is the result of the Fall — death is a defeated foe. You took the sting and Your blood covers our sin, forever!

Thank You for suffering and dying for me, Jesus!”