I imagine Jesus smiling often to himself and enjoying the moments of this day, the moments when his friends suddenly see Him alive.
He had told them His death would not be final, but how could they have understood? Now they are convinced He’s dead; His body was taken off the cross and placed in a tomb. Some of them had watched him die, had seen the burial.
They’re grieving, in despair, in hiding. Then He comes back to the ones He loves, sometimes meeting them individually, sometimes in a group. And now, they must believe. John says, They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!
Today I read all four accounts of the events of that morning. Mary’s encounter with Jesus touched my heart.
She’s gone to the tomb, but the body is gone. This last loss is just too much, too overwhelming. She weeps out of grief and frustration. The New Living Translation says,
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her.
Oh! Did you hear the love in that question?
He says her name, and she knows Him immediately.
I can imagine Jesus taking great delight in returning to His loved ones, in watching the despair vanish and joy and belief finally light up their faces. And He knows He has good news for them. They don’t realize yet what all He has done for them, what He has in store for them … but He knows.
I’m thinking of the many times the gospels say Jesus was troubled, the many times He grieved, the agony He suffered as He knew what He must go through. But now, it is over! He came to earth to die, and His work is now finished. He has beaten death and darkness, not only for Himself but for everyone who chooses Him.
The disciples were overjoyed to see their Lord alive. And is it so difficult to believe that He was overjoyed on this day, too? He has come back to His disciples victorious. He took the terrible punishment for all mankind’s transgressions against God, and He flung open the way to the Father, the way to life.
He has good news for all who love Him. And I think He must have smiled to Himself a lot, on that first day of resurrection.
I hope that on this Resurrection Day, He comes to you, calls your name in His great love, and gives you a glimpse of what He has done and what He has given you.
Scripture: John 20:14-15, 20:20 (NLT)