Early on the third day, after the Lord was crucified, some women went to the tomb in which His body had been placed. They were told by two angels, ‘He is not here, but is risen’, Luke 24. 6. The bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity. Paul wrote, ‘Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures … he was buried, and … rose again the third day according to the scriptures’, 1 Cor. 15. 3, 4. By the power of the Holy Spirit, men of God such as Elijah, Peter and Paul performed miracles. Thus, the miracles the Lord performed did not prove His deity, but His resurrection from the dead, never to die again, did prove His deity.1 By His resurrection, the Lord was ‘declared to be the Son of God with power’, Rom. 1. 4. The Lord told His disciples that He would be raised,2 and the resurrection was a dominant theme in the preaching of His followers.3
In accordance with the will of God His Father, the Lord laid down His life and rose again the third day.4 The resurrection of the Lord showed God’s complete approval of the life of His beloved Son, and His satisfaction with His finished work. Therefore, as believers we have full assurance of our salvation,5 through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who ‘was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification’, Rom. 4. 25.
In Luke 24 we read that in the evening of the day of the Lord’s resurrection two sad, dejected disciples were walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus, v. 13. Their hopes and aspirations had been shattered: they loved the Lord and He had been crucified and had died. The two disciples were not resting in, nor enjoying, the truth of the resurrection of their Lord and Saviour. As they walked, the Lord, who loved them, joined them, but they were prevented from knowing Him, vv. 15, 16. It was good that they were talking about the Lord and not about inconsequential trivia!
The two disciples told the Lord that they were sad because He had been crucified and was dead. They said, ‘We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel’, v. 21. The Lord graciously explained to them that they were slow to believe all that the prophets had said concerning Him. He told them that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer before entering into His glory, vv. 25, 26. ‘And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself’, v. 27. The two disciples listened and were taught and blessed. Later they said, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?’, v. 32. They had not yet been enabled to recognize Him, but when they beheld Him in the Old Testament scriptures, their hearts were joyful. They urged the Lord to stay with them, v. 29. When the Lord was seated in their home, He ‘took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them’, v. 30. It was then ‘their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight’, v. 31. They no longer needed to see Him for now they knew He was alive.
The two, now joyful, disciples returned to Jerusalem and joined the Eleven and others and told them that they had seen the risen Lord. The Lord had already appeared to Peter, v. 34, and, even as they spoke, the Lord ‘himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you’, v. 36. They were filled with joy, v. 41, and then ‘opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures’, v. 45.
The disciples were glad because they had seen the risen Lord and they had been with Him, John 20. 20. Those of us who are believers are among those who are blessed, for, not having seen the risen Lord physically, we believe, having seen Him in the scriptures, John 20. 29. His sacrificial death and His resurrection are the sources of our joy, and should be the subjects of our praises and witness.