The True Easter Story

I’ve written about Easter for many years. This year I thought that I’d do the same, but that I would use a chapter out of a book about Bible stories that I’m writing for adolescents. I hope you enjoy it…

The True Easter Story

No, Easter is not about Easter egg hunts or eating chocolate bunnies and eggs from ‘Easter baskets.’ Here’s the real deal:

After Jesus died on Good Friday, He was buried in a cave with a really heavy rock placed over the entrance that would be really hard to move.

On Saturday, the priests had soldiers stand guard at the tomb so that no one could steal Jesus’ body and claim that He was alive.

Yet early Sunday morning (Easter morning), Jesus’ mother and one of His friends (also named Mary) came to the tomb. Just as they arrived, an angel appeared and rolled away the stone. All the soldiers fainted.

The angel told the two women that Jesus was not in the tomb, because God had resurrected His Son from death to life!

Nothing is more important than this event. God put His new and last plan in motion – washing us clean from our sins with the blood of His Son so that we can stay in the presence of His love forever! It’s not because we did anything to earn it; it was a gift from God because He loves us so much.

Mary and Mary ran off to tell the apostles that Jesus was alive. While they were running, they met Jesus along the way. They were overjoyed. Jesus told them where the apostles could find Him.

The apostles did not believe them at first; but two of them ran back to the tomb and only found Jesus’ burial clothes.

Later that afternoon, two of Jesus’ disciples (but not of the 12 apostles) were walking along a road, saddened because of Jesus’ death. Suddenly, Jesus appears to them but keeps them from recognizing Him. He asked them why they were sad. They answered Him by saying that they watched Jesus die; and they were now doubting if He really was the Messiah.

Jesus then taught them about everything that the Bible said regarding the coming of the Messiah, so that they would understand why He had to die. Then He ate bread with them and let them recognize Him. When they did, He disappeared right before their eyes!

At the same time, the apostles were meeting in a house when all of a sudden Jesus appeared in the room. They were frightened because they thought that they were seeing a ghost. Jesus calmed their fears by letting them touch Him, to see that His body was solid.

He also showed them the holes where the nails had been driven through His wrists and feet. Finally, He eats some food in front of them.

The reason that Jesus’ body was solid but could appear and disappear at will, was because His body had changed. Jesus now had all of the powers that He had in heaven, before he came to the earth.

When we leave this earth, we too will get a new body. It will never wear out, never die, and it will have powers that we can’t even imagine.

Jesus then breathed upon the apostles to give them the Holy Spirit.

Eight days later, Jesus appeared to the apostles again and then spent another 40 days on the earth before He returned to heaven. During that time, He was seen 500 times by various people.

Jesus met with the apostles and told them to go all over the world, making new disciples for Him, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Then, Jesus opened their minds up and gave them a complete understanding of the Old Testament and everything that He had said, so that they could tell everyone about their Easter gift. And that is something that we are all supposed to do.

When Jesus finished speaking, He rose up to heaven while the apostles watched. Then, two angels appeared to give them God’s promise that Jesus would come back.

The apostles then understood that everything Jesus said was the truth. They also knew that Jesus’ promise of coming back was true – His promise of coming to be with us forever, where we all live filled with love.

That’s the true Easter Story. Happy Easter!

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Jesus Contact 23

Risen Jesus! You Want Proof?

When Jesus took His last breath, His Spirit left His flesh.

Simultaneously, the veil in Most Holy Place of the Temple split in two. (Mt. 27:51. Mind you, this veil was 60 feet high, 30 feet wide and 4 inches thick. The significance of the veil was that it separated man from God – whose Spirit resided in that Holy of Holies. Only the high priest was allowed to enter that place, once a year, on the Day of Atonement. The tearing of it signified the elimination of that barrier between man and God, replaced now by a continual direct connection through Christ.

Jesus was buried in a tomb that was sealed with a heavy stone. Three days after, an earthquake struck, removing the stone. Simultaneously, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus came to the tomb to find an angel sitting on the rock, surrounded by unconscious Roman guards. He greets them:

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen as He said.” Mt. 28:2 – 6. NKJV

The women run to tell the apostles, but along the way, they meet up face to face with Jesus. He exclaims, “Rejoice!” 28:9 NKJV

They fall at His feet and worship Him; but Jesus says,

“Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” Jn. 20:17 NKJV

Jesus had not yet ascended bodily to heaven.

The women went to the apostles with the news but they did not believe them. Peter and John when to check out the tomb for themselves, and after only finding Jesus’ burial clothes, they began to hope.

Later that day, two disciples were traveling away from Jerusalem, lamenting over Christ’s death, when suddenly He appears by their side. He conceals His identity and asks them about the source of their lament. They recounted their understanding of the events of Jesus’ death and their subsequent doubts about whether or not He was the Messiah.

Jesus admonished them for their lack of faith in all the Scriptures, wherein it told of the path the Messiah must take. He went on to interpret for them all of those Scriptures as He traveled with them to their destination. He then broke bread with them. At that very instant, they recognized Him and He vanished before their eyes!

That evening, these same two disciples went to the apostles and related their experience. Simultaneously, our risen Savior appeared in the room, saying, “Peace be with you.” Jn. 20:19 NKJV

The apostles panicked, thinking they’d seen a ghost; but Jesus reassures them:

“Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” Lk. 24:38 NKJV

Seeing that they were still not convinced, He shows them the scars on His hands and feet from the nails that were driven through them. Furthermore, Jesus ate food in front of them as well – a feat no ghost could accomplish.

(Note: See that Jesus is allowing Himself to be handled. That means sometime between when He met the two women and when He was with the two disciples on the road, He must have ascended to His Father to pour out His blood sacrifice, received His glorification and returned to earth in His transcendent body.)

Finally convinced that Jesus was who He said He was, the apostles became elated. Jesus responded:

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” Jn. 21 -23. ESV

Jesus is not saying that the disciples, or any other clergy or laity in the church, has the power to forgive sins. He is saying that once you deliver the gospel message to anyone, the recipient has the free-will choice to either receive Christ and receive forgiveness for their sins, or, decide to reject Him and have forgiveness withheld.

Jesus spent another 40 days on earth before returning to His Father. During that time, there were approximately 500 sightings of Christ. At the end of that time, He told the apostles to meet Him at Mount Olivet, where He gave them His final address:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:18 – 20. NKJV

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mk. 16:16 NKJV

“These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” LK. 24:44 NKJV

At that point, Jesus opened their minds so that they could have a complete understanding of the scriptures. Then He gave them one last instruction – telling then to stay in Jerusalem until they received the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit:’

“…for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me…to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:5 & 8. NKJV

So, there must be two phases of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because Jesus had already breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. Now, they must wait for the ‘power’ of the Spirt to fill them.

When Jesus finished speaking, He was taken up to heaven before their eyes. While this was happening, two angels appeared to them and said:

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up to heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 NKJV

Jesus took Himself to heaven for a temporary leave of absence. He promised He’s coming back and will be with you forever. Yet Jesus Christ is still with you now (in the Spirit) in every moment when you accept Him as your Savior. There is not one second where you are not completely loved. You just have to stay in contact…

Proof enough I think.

Goodnight and God bless.