“Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive?  He isn’t here! He has risen from the dead!  Don’t you remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day?”     Luke 24:5-7

What a mournful, dark time it must have been for Mary, mother of Jesus, as she grieved the brutal and seemingly unfair death of her son.  Jesus had been a good man.  The Bible says he led a perfect life.  Did she know why Jesus had to die?  Did she know the sacrifice He was making?  Whether she did or didn’t, her heart must have felt sick with agony and grief.  Making the time of mourning even more difficult for the women who felt led to embalm Jesus was the fact that they would have to wait until after the Sabbath to do so.  Jesus was laid in the tomb on Friday.  (What we know as Good Friday).   It would be Sunday morning before they would be able to go to Jesus.

How anxious Mary Magdalene and the others must have been to get to Jesus on that Sunday morning!  I envision them going out as soon as the first rays of dawn’s light began to filter through the sky.  Quietly and with haste they would have made their way through town to the tomb where Jesus had been laid, with the sky growing lighter as they proceeded on their way.  By the time they arrived at the tomb, the sky was light enough that they could see the rock covering the tomb had been rolled away and the body of Jesus was gone!  After the awful things they’d witnessed at His death, they were probably suspicious of what the Roman guards or religious leaders had done with Jesus’ body.  As they stood there wondering what had happened to Jesus, two men appeared as dazzling white figures.  They asked the women why they were looking for the living among the dead.  Mary explained they were looking for Jesus and asked what had been done with him.  To their astonishment, they were informed that Jesus had risen from the dead, just as He said He would!

The Gospel of John says that Mary Magdalene was crying when she saw the empty tomb, thinking someone had taken the body of Jesus away.  Then a man spoke to her, asking why she was crying.  She glanced at him and thought he was a gardener.  But then the man said her name, “Mary!”   When she heard him say her name, she realized it was Jesus!  Indeed He was alive!   She wanted to cling to Him, but  Jesus instructed her to find the disciples and tell them He was alive.  Can you imagine how excited she must have been to do so?

Indeed, Jesus was risen from the dead!  He was alive again!  This is why we celebrate Easter.  This is why Easter is such a joyous event!

Not only did Jesus die to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, allowing for everyone (you, me, everyone!) to find forgiveness with God, He rose again so that everyone would know there is life everlasting for those who believe in the Jesus the Christ and claim Him as their Lord and Savior!   What joy there is in Jesus, our risen Lord!

After attending a very somber service on Good Friday to commerate Jesus’ death, it felt so good to celebrate His life as the Risen Lord at the Easter service this morning!   His life is our life!    Praise be to God.

The service ended with one of my favorite praise songs “Jesus Messiah”.  I’ve never felt so joyous singing it as I did this morning, in praise and celebration of what Easter is all about.

My greatest hope is for everyone to know the love of Jesus and experience the true joy that can only be found in Him.

Happy Easter, everyone!           To read more about the resurrection of Christ, read John chapter 20, Matthew chapter 28, Mark chapter 16, or Luke chapter 24.