Imagine what Jesus followers, especially His closest family and disciples, must have felt like on Good Friday. Seeing their teacher, the one they had left everything and followed for over three years gruesomely crucified for crimes He did not commit. They must have been devastated, confused, scared and unsure of what to do next. Then Sunday morning comes. That is where we pick up today and we see that initially there is no less confusion. Mary and the other women go to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning and find it empty. They report it to Peter and John who race to the grave and find it just as Mary had said. Jesus was gone! Only the grave clothes remained. But, we see even the sight of the empty tomb wasn’t enough for Mary and the disciples to fully understand and believe that Jesus was alive again: 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
There is a very important truth that we can pull of this account today and it is this: It takes more than seeing the evidence that Jesus is alive to change you; you must meet Jesus face to face before you can be truly changed. Mary and the disciples were clearly confronted with the evidence that Jesus was resurrected and they still didn’t fully understand what Jesus had done. Couple that with the fact that they had heard Jesus speak about His resurrection while He was alive and you would think that they would have immediately put 2 and 2 together. But, it wasn’t just that they needed to put the pieces of the puzzle together to be changed moving forward. They needed more than just the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection to solidify their faith. They needed to meet Jesus face to face. Not the earthly Jesus who they had walked with as a man, they needed to meet the resurrected Jesus who had defeated death once and for all and was now in all His glory and victory.
The absolute same thing is true for us today. We can survey all the evidence in scripture that points so clearly to the fact that Jesus is alive (We can see the grave cloths lying in the empty tomb). But, it takes more than just the evidence of Christ’s work to change our lives. We must experience Jesus face to face in the power of His resurrection through God’s grace. This is the mysterious work of God’s salvation that Paul talks about in Ephesians 1 that “brings unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Our salvation is not based on just the acceptance of the facts about Jesus; we must meet Him face to face through placing our faith solely in Him to change us.
So, let me ask you today: Have you met Jesus face to face or are you still simply surveying the evidence? Have you came to the place where you were confronted with the gospel of Jesus and you surrendered your heart to Him in faith accepting His grace to save you and make you new? If you have questions today or would like to talk to anyone about this decision in your life, please contact one of our pastoral staff today and we would love to discuss it more with you.
By: Matt Mofield