What was Jesus' message after His resurrection?
Following His resurrection from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ “presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to His many followers, over 500 in fact over a period of forty days” (Acts 1:3).
We will look at several of Jesus’ resurrection appearances over the next two weeks. Today, we’ll focus first on His Words. What was Jesus' message to these believers? How does it apply to us today? Next week, we’ll consider what changed in Him, and what will change in us when we are resurrected?
The first person to whom Jesus revealed Himself is Mary.
If you put all four Gospels together, you realize that Mary Magdalene and several women went to the tomb and saw it empty, she left and told the disciples. And nobody knows what to believe?! So Peter and John go to the empty tomb. Mary follows after them. John now believes Jesus rose from the dead. They leave, Mary stays behind; that’s when two angels appear,
John 20:13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” [It’s Easter Sunday! The greatest event just took place. Why are you so sad?!] She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said, “Rabboni!”
Jesus’ initial message was “stop weeping and start believing.”
When He entered the upper room where His disciples were hiding in fear, His message was similar, “stop fearing and start believing.”
And this isn’t just for Easter Sunday.
Whatever you face, however hopeless it seems, however powerless you feel, it’s hard to remain miserable or frightened or hopeless when by faith you believe that Jesus is fully alive from the dead, and you embrace the hope that His resurrection brings.
He told the two disciples that He met on the way to Emmaus pretty much the same, “Stop being so foolish and start believing.”
Luke 24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 And He said to them, “What are these [sad and hopeless] words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad.
After they revealed their initial hope in Him but their current lack of faith,
Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! [I.e., stop being so sad and believe! Really, STOP BEING SO FOOLISH, BELIEVE ALL THAT GOD SAYS ABOUT ME. It’s very illuminating that Jesus thinks we are foolish to not believe ALL that God’s Word says.] 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” [Why is it necessary they happen? Because Scripture said it would happen!] 27 Then beginning with Moses [Genesis] and all the prophets [from Amos - Zechariah], He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Stop weeping, stop fearing, and stop being foolish! How by believing that Jesus has risen from the dead. And believe everything the Bible says, everything it says about Jesus. Jesus says it’s foolish not to. That’s less of a judgment, more of an outcome—we live foolishly, we think and act like an unbeliever whenever we do not believe what God’s Word teaches.
Again this isn’t an Easter message. However hopeless your current crisis seems, however powerless you are to affect a good outcome, whatever is robbing you or peace or joy in this life. But let me ask, why were the disciples afraid? Why was Mary so sad?
It wasn’t just because Jesus was so sweet and she missed him so much.
John 20:13 … [But in her own words] “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Jesus freed her from seven demons. She experienced that. Jesus forgave her sins and she believed Him. She believed Jesus reconciled her to God. He fully accepts her, always, because of Jesus. She longed for this…
Jesus was her Lord. I.e., she trusted and loved Him and gave her life to serve Him. We serve what we love. So, WHEN HE DIED, she’s left asking, “Is any of this true?! Am I forgiven. Does God accept me?”
And now His body is missing and it was just all too much for her to handle…
So Jesus’ initial message to His followers was stop being so sad. Stop being so afraid, so hopeless. Do you see how foolish this is as you believe that I am alive. Jesus’ resurrection means every promise God made will likewise (literally) be fulfilled. His resurrection means Satan has no authority over you, sin is no longer your master, and death’s power is destroyed.
Jesus’ resurrection has an effect on a galactic, cosmic scale, for
“He created all things, seen and unseen.” And “in Him all things hold together.” And “in the fulness of the times, all things will be summed up in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” (Eph 1:10). Paul says,
Eph. 1:20 [God the Father] raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, [or any name you can name, any threat they pose] not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Believe this. Frame your understanding of the world around this. Don’t fear the end of the world as others do. Nor the state of the nation; and don’t put all your hope in political parties. Believe that Jesus has all rule and authority and power. Believe this into your situation. See this and believe this over your fears. No problem is too big for Christ in heaven and also in you.
On a personal level, Jesus’ resurrection means we have a God who suffered and died for us, yet lives to save us. He understands through personal experience everything you face.
He knows what it is to be heartbroken, betrayed, hated, frightened, human.
Jesus’ resurrection means you are always loved—by the Almighty. You are always listened to, always cared for, and always interceded for.
Rom. 8:34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
But there’s more. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead, we can declare,
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [NO. for Christ conquered all in His resurrection!] 37 [So] in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. [And rose again for us!]
So Jesus’ early message was stop weeping, stop fearing, stop reacting to the world and culture like its got any power, and believe that Jesus has risen from the dead and therefore we have hope in Him in every situation.
So whatever you face, financial crises, a boring job, a failed relationship, annoying people, a vindictive enemy, illness, aging, or death. By faith live in the hope that Jesus’ resurrection brings. You’ve a living Shepherd…
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2… He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul… 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me… 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Jesus had one other clear message or really mission that He kept sharing,
John 20:19 So when it was evening on that day, the first of the week], and when the doors were shut where the disciples were , for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
This was specific to His disciples. He was sending them out as His apostles. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t be sent to the whole church, all believers, for another fifty days, but until then He came to these for a special empowering.
Which shows the importance of believing that the resurrected Christ sends us His Holy Spirit and we need to be led by and to rely on Him to be effective.
He also gives us the privilege to announce to others God’s forgiveness of their sins and guilt and shame. We get to announce freedom and forgiveness in Christ. And if they believe they are forgiven and restored to God, and given infinite worth, identity, clothed with glory, as God’s possession.
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel [GOOD NEWS] to all creation.”
Share the good news that the risen Savior entrusts with us.
Believe that there are people out there whom God will grant to believe and be saved. Share with those who are sad, empty, feeling hopeless, afraid. People have epic fears today. COVID shows how much people fear death. People freak that the world will end this way or that. An asteroid. Global warming. WWIII. Well we know how. And we know who. We’ve a message that saves all who believe in Him. For we know who made them and loves them and died for them. Not just for us. Jesus defeated Satan for them, destroyed the power of death for them, offers to forgive them and give eternal life to them.