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Gospel of Matthew 28: 1-10 (NIV)
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The Apostle John recorded Jesus’ words to Thomas on their first encounter after Jesus’ resurrection: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”(John 20: 29).
We are not eyewitnesses to his resurrection however we are called to believe those who were. “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” were confronted by the angel of the Lord, saw the open tomb and the place where Jesus lay and then were met by Jesus himself. Evidently they believed for they “clasped his feet and worshipped him”.
John’s Gospel describes how Peter and possibly John himself, given this report by Mary of Magdala, ran to the tomb to see for themselves. According to John, “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead” (John 20: 9).
There is a distinction between understanding and believing, then and now. I do not understand how Jesus was resurrected bodily, I do not understand all the implications of his death and resurrection but I believe the Gospel accounts and the testimonies elsewhere in the New Testament. As the Apostles’ Creed states, “On the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven.” I believe that. Do you?
If you don’t, what would it take to cause you to believe? Proof is elusive; belief is required in the absence of proof. Trust is required to accompany belief, along with a commitment to obey the risen Lord of heaven and earth.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” If you still struggle to believe, ask God to grant you strength through the Holy Spirit to take that significant step into what appears to be an unknown place and to believe – and trust that Jesus will make himself known to you.