Have you ever felt like a third wheel as your friends laughed about a memory and then said, “Sorry, you had to be there”?
Sometimes I feel that way about Jesus’ disciples. “God has raised this Jesus to life,” they gush, “and we are all witnesses of it” (Acts 2:32). “Oh, Sorry,” I imagine Peter consoling me, “I guess you had to be there.”
So I try to go there. I journey through Scripture with generations of saints fighting bloody battles, clinging to hopeful prophecies, and making noble sacrifices in the face of growing darkness. When I read of Jesus’ birth, my heart flutters. As He confronts religious powers and sets in motion the events that lead to His arrest, I grip my Bible. As I read of His crucifixion, death, and burial, I hold my breath. All of human history has been leading up to this moment.
But then, chapter twenty announces Easter: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance” (20:1). That’s it. Somewhere between chapters nineteen and twenty, the resurrection has already happened, and nobody was there to see it.
What Jesus’ disciples witnessed that day was not merely a resurrection, but the Resurrection—Jesus Himself, back from the dead, the same Saviour who’s been resurrecting people ever since. You and I were right there, in the tomb, dead in our sins. We’ve been resurrected by a resurrected Lord (Romans 6:4-8), which means that “we are all witnesses of it,” of Him, along with His disciples.
Have you ever realized that through faith, Jesus’ resurrection has become your resurrection? How does this help you celebrate Easter today and every day?
Brad Huebert is Pastor at Manifest Church in Calgary, AB.