Easter Sunday is exactly one month from today on April 21, 2019. Its the perfect time to read about the series of events that changed the world and opened up the gates of heaven to all who believe.
After Jesus died on the cross, he laid in the tomb for three days. God raised him from the dead on the third day. Two of the apostles were walking and talking to each other about the death of Jesus, trying to process the events that had happened. As they were walking, Jesus joined them and started talking to them. They did not recognize Jesus at that time, yet they asked him to join them. They sat down at the table to eat. When Jesus was at the table with them, he took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them. Then, they recognized Jesus, and he disappeared from their sight.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
–Luke 24:30-31 (NIV)
Before Saul became an apostle, it is written that scales fell from his eyes, when he recognized our almighty God. He was blind to the goodness of God, until lightning flashed and brought him to his knees. At that time, God spoke to him and he listened. This passage also talks about two of the apostles being in the presence of Jesus, yet the apostles did not recognize him until later. The verse says “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him”. Even the apostles who walked and talked with Jesus, experienced a time when they did recognize him. Were they lacking faith? Was that God’s will for that time? Jesus cited scriptures to them as they were walking explaining how the old testament prophesied that Jesus would die for our sins and rise again on the third day. Maybe God just wanted them to fully hear the scriptures and think about what was written in the old testament, before they saw Jesus with them. The moment they recognized Jesus, he disappeared. In a flash of recognition, they knew the God had fulfilled his promises written in the bible. Jesus was alive. Jesus fulfilled God’s promises as it was written in the scriptures.
The two apostles left the village and went back to find the other apostles in Jerusalem. They told them that Jesus had risen. While they were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and stood among them. Jesus showed them his hands and feet. He again reminded them that this was fulfilling the scriptures. Then, he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures.
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
–Luke 24:45-49 (NIV)
Jesus told the apostles what is written in the bible. The Messiah will suffer, die and rise from the dead on the third day, and God will forgive our sins. Starting in Jerusalem and then spreading around the world, people will preach the bible’s words about feeling remorse for your sins, asking God for forgiveness and being forgiven. Jesus tells the apostles that they are the witnesses to the fulfillment of the scripture. They stood there seeing Jesus alive. They see God’s promise fulfilled and standing before them. Jesus asks them to stay in the city until “they have been clothed with power from on high”.
Jesus lifted up his hands and blessed them and was taken up into heaven. The apostles worshiped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They stayed at the temple and praised God.
The Ascension of Jesus
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
–Luke 24:50-53 (NIV)
It would have been so amazing to walk with Jesus and hear him speak. I cannot imagine the immense happiness and wonder at seeing Jesus alive and knowing that God’s promises were fulfilled in Jesus. We measure time based on the time before Jesus and the time after Jesus ascended into heaven. The whole world revolves around the fulfillment of the scriptures celebrated on Easter. I don’t know how people cannot believe. We need to pray that God opens the eyes of non-believers and opens their minds, so they can understand the scriptures. Faith is a glorious gift from God, how can we not share it?
Thank you for forgiving our sins and sending us Jesus as our savior. Thank you for always being good and fulfilling your promises written in the scriptures. Open our eyes, so we can see you. Open our minds, so we can understand your messages to us, written in the bible.