Prayer: O Lord God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer, thank you for not only being there, but being with me today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Thoughts: At one time or another, most of us raised an angry fist to fate and cursed the darkness. Each of these actions is about as equally effective. But to deny there is a God is something else altogether. To rob heaven of God is to rob ourselves of grace, hope, and future. How foolish indeed to forget that behind a Creation of wonder, order, variety, beauty, power, and pattern is the Creator. He is far greater than his handiwork and we dare not ignore, deny, or dismiss him.
From the moment Judas betrayed Jesus, and as Jesus endured torture, illegal trials, crucifixion, and burial, the future of humanity hung in the balance. On that morning, the first Sunday after Passover so many years ago, everything changed. God re-tuned history. Death lost its grip on us. Satan's ultimate power was defeated. Why?
Jesus emerged from the tomb that was sealed and that held him, alive. Our Lord triumphed over sin, hell, and death for us by walking out of that tomb and into our lives. Death could not hold him. Satan could not defeat him. His enemies could not stop him. Nothing would ever be the same.
At GODVERSITY we pray God's richest blessings and a day full of love, celebration, and joy. This is RESURRECTION SUNDAY. Jesus is risen and alive for us. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is coming back for those who are his own. Praise God! Everything is changed. Our future is secured. Grace has emerged victorious. Love has defeated hate. Hope has eclipsed sorrow.
To celebrate this day, we are providing you with the biblical account of Jesus' resurrection in a format that is the combined gospel testimony.[NOTE] After this biblical testimony, you will find a special video presentation from James Nored on what the resurrection means for all of us. May God bless you this day and every day that follows with the confidence that your life is now hidden with Christ, your resurrected Savior because Jesus lives (Colossians 3:1-4).
The next day after the Sabbath day (Mark 16:1), suddenly an angel of the Lord came from the sky, and there was a huge earthquake. The angel went to the tomb and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then he sat on top of the stone. The angel was shining as bright as lightning. His clothes were as white as snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb were very afraid of the angel. They shook with fear and then became like dead men (Matthew 28:2-4).
Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some sweet-smelling spices to put on Jesus' body. Very early on that day, the first day of the week, the women were going to the tomb. It was very early after sunrise. The women said to each other, "There is a large stone covering the entrance of the tomb. Who will move the stone for us?" Then the women looked and saw that the stone was moved. The stone was very large, but it was moved away from the entrance (Mark 16:1-4).
They went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They did not understand this. While they were wondering about it, two men in shining clothes stood beside them. The women were very afraid. They bowed down with their faces to the ground (Luke 24:3-5). But the man said, "Don't be afraid. You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, the one who was killed on a cross" (Mark 16:6).
The men said to them, "Why are you looking for a living person here? This is a place for dead people (Luke 24:5). He has risen from death! He is not here. Look, here is the place they put him when he was dead (Mark 16:6). Jesus is not here. He has risen from death. Do you remember what he said in Galilee? He said the Son of Man must be handed over to the control of sinful men, be killed on a cross, and rise from death on the third day (Luke 24:6-7).
"Now go and tell his followers. And be sure to tell Peter. Tell them, ‘Jesus is going into Galilee and will be there before you come. You will see him there, as he told you before'" (Mark 16:7).
Then the women remembered what Jesus had said (Luke 24:8).
So the women left the tomb quickly. They were afraid, but they were also very happy. They ran to tell his followers what happened (Matthew 28:8). These women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and some others. They told the apostles everything that happened. But the apostles did not believe what they said. It sounded like nonsense (Luke 24:10-12).
But Peter and the other follower started going to the tomb. They were both running, but the other follower ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and looked in. He saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in.
When Simon Peter finally reached the tomb, he went in and saw the pieces of linen lying there. He also saw the cloth that had been around Jesus' head. It was folded up and laid in a different place from the pieces of linen. Then the other follower went in—the one who had reached the tomb first. He saw what had happened and believed. (These followers did not yet understand from the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from death.) Then the followers went back home.
But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. While she was crying, she bent down and looked inside the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was sitting where the head had been; the other was sitting where the feet had been. The angels asked Mary, "Woman, why are you crying?"
Mary answered, "They took away the body of my Lord, and I don't know where they put him." When Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know that it was Jesus. He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?"
She thought that this was the man who takes care of the garden. So she said to him, "Did you take him away, sir? Tell me where you put him. I will go and get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and said in Aramaic, "Rabboni." (This means "Teacher.")
Jesus said to her, "You don't need to hold on to me! I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my followers and tell them this: ‘I am going back to my Father and your Father. I am going back to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went to the followers and told them, "I saw the Lord!" And she told them what he had said to her (John 20:3-18).
Suddenly, Jesus was there in front of them. He said, "Hello!" The women went to him and, holding on to his feet, worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go tell my followers to go to Galilee. They will see me there."
The women went to tell the followers. At the same time, some of the soldiers who were guarding the tomb went into the city. They went to tell the leading priests everything that happened. Then the priests met with the older Jewish leaders and made a plan. They paid the soldiers a lot of money and said to them, "Tell the people that Jesus' followers came during the night and stole the body while you were sleeping. If the governor hears about this, we will talk to him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers kept the money and obeyed the priests. And that story is still spread among the Jews even today (Matthew 28:9-15).
That same day two of Jesus' followers were going to a town named Emmaus. It is about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking about everything that had happened. While they were talking, discussing these things, Jesus himself came near and walked with them. (But the two men were not allowed to recognize Jesus.) He asked them, "What's this I hear you discussing with each other as you walk?" The two men stopped, their faces looking very sad. The one named Cleopas said,
"You must be the only person in Jerusalem who doesn't know what has just happened there."
Jesus said, "What are you talking about?"
They said, "It's about Jesus, the one from Nazareth. To God and to all the people he was a great prophet. He said and did many powerful things. But our leaders and the leading priests handed him over to be judged and killed. They nailed him to a cross. We were hoping that he would be the one to free Israel. But then all this happened.
He is not here, he is risen just as he said!
"And now something else: It has been three days since he was killed, but today some of our women told us an amazing thing. Early this morning they went to the tomb where the body of Jesus was laid. But they did not find his body there. They came and told us they had seen some angels in a vision. The angels told them Jesus was alive! So some of our group went to the tomb too. It was just like the women said. They saw the tomb, but they did not see Jesus."
Then Jesus said to the two men, "You are foolish and slow to realize what is true. You should believe everything the prophets said. The prophets said the Messiah must suffer these things before he begins his time of glory." Then he began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures. He started with the books of Moses and then he talked about what the prophets had said about him.
They came near the town of Emmaus, and Jesus acted as if he did not plan to stop there. But they wanted him to stay. They begged him, "Stay with us. It's almost night. There's hardly any daylight left." So he went in to stay with them.
Joining them at the supper table, Jesus took some bread and gave thanks. Then he broke some off and gave it to them. Just then the men were allowed to recognize him. But when they saw who he was, he disappeared. They said to each other, "When he talked to us on the road, it felt like a fire burning in us. How exciting it was when he explained to us the true meaning of the Scriptures!"
So the two men got up then and went back to Jerusalem. There they found the followers of Jesus meeting together. The eleven apostles and the people with them said, "The Lord really has risen from death! He appeared to Simon."
Then the two men told what had happened on the road. They talked about how they recognized Jesus when he shared the bread with them (Luke 24:13-35).
GOD BLESS YOU and Happy Easter to you!
Authors: In this series, James Nored and Phil Ware partner two pioneering ministries providing resources to reach coming generations. James is a minister, Executive Director of Next Generation for Christ, and author of the Story of Redemption Film Series, filmed in the Israel, U.S., and around the world. This series is designed to lead seekers to faith and strengthen the faith of believers. Divided into 5-6 minute video segments, it is great to use with social media, small groups, sermon series, families, and friends. Phil is President of Heartlight, Inc., a preacher for 40 years, author of five books along with hundreds of articles & 11 years of daily devotionals, coach for churches in transition, and a resource for missionary renewal. Phil's verseoftheday.com devotionals are read by hundreds of thousands every day.