He is risen, indeed!

Published 5:41 pm Saturday, April 4, 2015

Christians around the world recognize Easter as the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Subjected the previous Friday to the vilest, most tortuous death the Romans had devised, Jesus had died and been sealed up in a tomb, where His body lay and where His followers — who had forgotten or misunderstood His promise to overcome death — expected to find Him when they returned there following the Jewish Sabbath to anoint Him with oils and give His body proper treatment.

But the promise of new life in Christ that His followers embrace even today revealed itself in a mighty way when the stone covering the tomb’s entrance was miraculously rolled away to reveal that the Savior had kept His promise, had overcome death and promised eternal life in glory to those who would believe in Him.

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This is the account of the resurrection of Christ found in the 20th chapter of the Gospel of John, who was one of the first to find the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.

1 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. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

— John 20:1-18