“On the first day of the week, at early dawn,” the women who were witnesses of Jesus’ death and burial came to His tomb. “They did not find the body.” Instead they heard the report of two angels testifying to the resurrection of the Messiah: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
That very day “Jesus Himself drew near” two men who had traveled in the company of the disciples, “but their eyes were kept from recognizing Him.” He questioned them about their conversation, and they were shocked that He needed to ask about what was apparently common knowledge in Jerusalem, namely the expectations of the people “concerning Jesus of Nazareth,” and particularly the facts surrounding His death. They said that they had “hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel.” Even though they had received the report of the women from that morning, they could not comprehend the fact that He was alive again.
Their companion along the road spoke to them of the necessity “that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory.” Jesus proved this from the Hebrew Bible. “He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” They were still unable to identify Him until He was “at table” with them. Once their “eyes were opened and they recognized Him,” He was suddenly gone.
Returning to the other disciples, they learned that Jesus had appeared to Peter. Suddenly He “Himself stood among them.” Before His ascension on high, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” They would soon receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and be sent out so that “repentance and forgiveness of sins” could be “proclaimed in His Name to all nations.” What was the response of the believers? “They worshiped” their Savior who had been “carried up into heaven” before their very eyes.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign Lord, the stone, the guards, and the seal could not keep our Savior in the grave. He is risen! Thank You for the faithful testimony that we have regarding the facts that changed the world. What world-changing events took place in Jerusalem in those days! Your Son was condemned to death and crucified, but on the third day He rose again. In accord with the ancient oracles of the Prophets, Christ suffered and entered into glory. We see and confess what the Scriptures teach us about Jesus. May our Redeemer be known to us by Word and sacrament. Grant that we too will partake of the promised resurrection. Cast far away from us any lingering doubts concerning the events recorded for our faith. Everything written in the Bible shall be fulfilled. Our King has ascended into heaven, and we are blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon Your church. Strengthen us as we seek Your face.