JESUS cried when his friend Lazarus died. Do you think that Jehovah felt bad when Jesus suffered and died?— The Bible says that God can “feel hurt” and even be “pained” by things that happen.
Can you imagine the pain Jehovah felt as he watched his dear Son die?— Jesus was sure that God would not forget him. That is why his last words before he died were: “Father, into your hands I entrust my [life].”
Jesus was sure that he would be resurrected, that he would not be left “in hell,” or the grave. After Jesus was raised up, the apostle Peter quoted what was written in the Bible about Jesus, saying: “His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:31, King James Version; Psalm 16:10) No, the body of Jesus never had time to become corrupt in the grave, that is, to decay and smell bad.
When Jesus was on earth, he even told his disciples that he would not be dead very long. He explained to them that he would “be killed, and on the third day be raised up.” (Luke 9:22) So, really, the disciples should not have been surprised when Jesus was resurrected. But were they?— Let’s see.
It is about three o’clock Friday afternoon when the Great Teacher dies on the torture stake. Joseph, a rich member of the Sanhedrin, is also a secret believer in Jesus. When he learns that Jesus is dead, he goes to Pilate, the Roman governor. He asks if he can take Jesus’ body down from the stake to bury it. Afterward, Joseph carries Jesus’ body to a garden where there is a tomb, which is a place where dead bodies are put.
After the body is put in the tomb, a big stone is rolled in front. So the tomb is closed. Now it is the third day, which is Sunday. It is before sunrise, so it is still dark. Men are there guarding the tomb. The chief priests sent them to do it. Do you know why?—
The priests too had heard that Jesus said he would be resurrected. So to keep his disciples from stealing the body and then saying that Jesus was raised up, the priests have guards posted. Suddenly, the ground begins to shake. In the darkness, there is a flash of light. It is an angel of Jehovah! The soldiers are so frightened that they cannot move. The angel goes to the tomb and rolls the stone away. The tomb is empty!
Yes, it is as the apostle Peter later said: “This Jesus God resurrected.” (Acts 2:32) God made Jesus alive with a body like the one Jesus had before he came to earth. He was resurrected with a spirit body like the angels have. (1 Peter 3:18) So if people are to see Jesus, he must make himself a body of flesh. Is that what he does?— Let’s see.
Now the sun is coming up. The soldiers have gone away. Mary Magdalene and other women disciples of Jesus are on their way to the tomb. They are saying among themselves: ‘Who will roll that heavy stone away for us?’ (Mark 16:3) But when they get to the tomb, the stone has already been rolled away. And the tomb is empty! Jesus’ dead body of flesh is gone! Right away, Mary Magdalene runs off to find some of Jesus’ apostles.
The other women stay by the tomb. They wonder: ‘Where could Jesus’ body be?’ Suddenly two men in flashing clothing appear. They are angels! They say to the women: ‘Why are you looking for Jesus here? He was raised up. Go quickly and tell his disciples.’ Well, you can imagine how fast the women run! On the way, a man meets them. Do you know who he is?—
It is Jesus, who has taken on a fleshly body! He also says to the women: ‘Go and tell my disciples.’ The women are excited. They find the disciples and tell them: ‘Jesus is alive! We saw him!’ Mary has already told Peter and John about the empty tomb. Now they visit it, as you can see here. They look at the linen cloths Jesus was wrapped in, but they aren’t sure what to think. They want to believe that Jesus is alive again, but it seems too wonderful to be true.
Later that Sunday, Jesus appears to two of his disciples who are walking along the road to the village of Emmaus. Jesus walks and talks with them, but they don’t recognize him because he doesn’t have the same fleshly body that he had before. It is not until Jesus has a meal with them and says a prayer that they recognize him. The disciples are so excited that they hurry many miles back to Jerusalem! Perhaps it is shortly after this that Jesus makes an appearance to Peter to show him that He is alive.
Then later that Sunday evening, many disciples are gathered in a room. The doors are locked. Suddenly, Jesus is right there in the room with them! Now they know that the Great Teacher really is alive again. Imagine how happy they are!
For 40 days Jesus appears in different bodies of flesh to show his disciples that he is alive. Then he leaves the earth and goes back to his Father in heaven. (Acts 1:9-11) Soon the disciples start telling everyone that God raised Jesus up from the dead. Even when the priests beat them and have some of them killed, they keep preaching. They know that if they die, God will remember them just as he remembered his Son.
How different those early followers of Jesus were from many people today! These people think only about Easter rabbits and colored Easter eggs at the time of year when Jesus was resurrected. But the Bible doesn’t say anything about Easter rabbits and eggs. It talks about serving God.
We can be like Jesus’ disciples by telling people that God did a wonderful thing when he resurrected his Son. We never need to be afraid, even if people say they will kill us. If we should die, Jehovah will remember us and resurrect us, just as he did Jesus.
Aren’t we glad to know that God remembers those who serve him and will even resurrect them from the dead?— Knowing these things should cause us to want to know how we can make God happy. Did you know that we really can?— Let’s talk about this next.
Belief in Jesus’ resurrection should make our hope firm and our faith strong. Please read Acts 2:22-36; 4:18-20; and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 20-23.