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On Easter we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If you recall the historical details, Jesus died by crucifixion. It was gruesome and painful. Scholars everywhere agree on this fact as true. It happened like the four gospels described it. Amazingly, David foretold this event in Psalm 22. Isaiah predicted the details a thousand years prior in Isaiah chapter 53. Another accepted fact is that Jesus' disciples believed he arose from the dead and they reported he appeared to many of them. In one such incident, 500 witnesses saw Jesus at the same time. (1 Cor. 15)

At the cross, after Jesus' male disciples ran and hid, there were several women who stayed behind. Three of the women were named Mary. "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother (Mary), his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25).

One of them, Mary Magdalene, was famous for being delivered from demons. She was included in the team that traveled with Jesus (Luke 8:1-3). It looks like Jesus valued the help of his women disciples. Jesus was the first liberator of women.

When Christ arose on the morning of the third day, he honored Mary Magdalene by allowing her to be the first person to see him alive. "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping" (Mark 16:10).

This is an amazing story. It seems that Jesus bypassed two of his premier male apostles, Peter and John, to make sure that this woman saw him first (John 20:11-18). The two men had already raced to the tomb, but Jesus didn't make himself known until they departed. Then he revealed himself to this woman. Why would he do that? She represents people just like us.

Mary became the first herald of the good news of the resurrection. She gave her eyewitness account to the Twelve. What an honor this was for her!

Until Jesus appeared later to the other disciples, there were only two people who had first seen the risen Lord, two eyewitnesses of his resurrection. In the scriptures, being an eyewitness of the resurrection was an initial requirement to be among the original apostles. Who were the original eyewitnesses? Two people: Mary Magdalene, a human; and the Holy Spirit, who is God.

The Holy Spirit always bears witness to the truth. He testifies that Jesus suffered death on the cross for our sins, was buried, arose from the dead and is alive today. He convinces us that the Scriptures are true and he assists us to believe this amazing word about Jesus.

Mary pictures the church, all of us who love Jesus. Like Mary, we are also forgiven, delivered, adopted, redeemed, included and then deployed with a message of his resurrection. Mary Magdalene saw Jesus walk out of the tomb. Later, many more witnesses were added to the list of those who saw him alive (1 Cor. 15.6).

The other initial eyewitness was the Holy Spirit. He's willing and able if called upon to bear dramatic witness to the resurrection of Jesus. He convicts us of the truth of the word. He convinces us by miraculous power. His attesting signs offer visible evidence that Jesus is alive today. The Holy Spirit bears witness that Jesus rose from the grave. Read the Bible and he'll help you discover the truth for yourself so that you can believe and be saved.

In my mind's eye, I've seen Jesus on the cross. He's alive! Have you seen him?

• • •

Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at wood.stone.ron@gmail.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 04/17/2019

Print Headline: Witness the Resurrection

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