In Scripture, it is written about the ’ resurrection: “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said to the women, Fear not you: for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there shall you see him: see, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. … Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:1-9, 16-18). These verses record the facts of the Lord Jesus’ resurrection and appearance three days after His crucifixion. It is because He was crucified and redeemed mankind that mankind is no longer condemned by the law and freed from the bondage of the decrees and regulations. Thanks be to the Lord! His resurrection is very important to every one of our brothers and sisters in Him, for it is through His resurrection that we are made certain that He is God Himself and is the One that we should truly trust. The Bible says, “And if be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Without the Lord Jesus’ resurrection, even if we have faith in Him, we would not . Without His redemption, we sinners would still be bound by the law. Just because of His resurrection, we have a hope of salvation.
The Lord Jesus’ resurrection to us mankind is undoubtedly important. How could we not be excited about it? In joy and excitement, let us calm down and think about these two questions: What deeper meanings does the Lord Jesus’ resurrection have? What are the Lord’s intentions when He taught His disciples after His resurrection and appearance?
1. The Meanings of the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection and Appearance
I prayed to the Lord in puzzlement. And then, when I was studying related materials, I saw these words in a spiritual book: “The scripture contains the following line describing the Lord Jesus after the resurrection: ‘then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you.’ It’s very clear that the Lord Jesus at that time was no longer a flesh, but a spiritual body. This was because He had transcended the limitations of the flesh, and when the door was closed He could still come into the midst of the people and allow them to see Him. This is the greatest difference between the Lord Jesus after the resurrection and the Lord Jesus living in the flesh before the resurrection. Even though there was no difference between the appearance of the spiritual body of that moment and the appearance of the Lord Jesus from before, Jesus in that moment had become a Jesus that felt like a stranger to the people, because He had become a spiritual body after being resurrected from the dead, and compared to His previous flesh, this spiritual body was more puzzling and confusing for people. It also created more distance between the Lord Jesus and the people, and people felt in their hearts that the Lord Jesus in that moment had become more mysterious. … the first thing that the Lord Jesus did after His resurrection was to allow everyone to see Him, to confirm that He exists, and to confirm the fact of His resurrection. In addition, it restored His relationship with the people to the relationship He had with them when He was working in the flesh, and He was the Christ they could see and touch. This way, one outcome is that the people had no doubt that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected from death after being nailed to the cross, and there was no doubt in the Lord Jesus’ work to redeem mankind. And another outcome is that the fact of the Lord Jesus appearing to people after His resurrection and allowing people to see and touch Him firmly secured mankind in the Age of Grace. From this time on, people could not return to the previous age, the Age of Law, because of the Lord Jesus’ ‘disappearance’ or ‘desertion,’ but they would continue forward, following the Lord Jesus’ teachings and the work He had done. Thus, a new phase in the work in the Age of Grace was formally opened up, and the people who had been under the law formally came out from the law from then on, and entered into a new era, with a new beginning. These are the manifold meanings of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to mankind after the resurrection.” After reading these words, I had gained some understanding. Before the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He was in the flesh. After the resurrection, He appeared to man in a spiritual body with the image of the flesh. At that time, the Lord Jesus had transcended the limitations of the flesh, and could come among His disciples and appear to them when the door was closed. Although His outward image didn’t change, He had become a spiritual body. Facing the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus, the disciples felt that it was mysterious, and there was also confusion and distance growing inside them. The Lord Jesus was very clear about their mentality and need. So, after His resurrection, He appeared to them for forty days, and ate bread and fish with them and explained the scriptures to them, so that they could see that He was still the same Lord Jesus before His crucifixion, tangible with flesh and bones, and would no longer think that the resurrected Lord Jesus was a spiritual body that they couldn’t touch or approach. In addition, they could see His existence and recognize Him, with no more doubt but confirmation of His resurrection. In this way, the relationship between man and God would be restored to their relationship before the crucifixion. They would say, “The Lord has risen from dead! He is the same as before. He loves us the same way He used to. He cares about us, He doesn’t leave us, and He is still with us, still on earth.” Besides, through His resurrection and appearance to man, the Lord Jesus opened up a phase of the work in the Age of Grace, and led man to come out from the law and enter into the new age. All the followers of Him knew that He is Christ, the incarnated God, and God Himself, and their faith was thus strengthened. Later, His disciples took His resurrection as the greatest vision, and began to testify about Him, telling people the facts of His work, and to preach the
, which has been spread across the world today. So, the meanings of the Lord Jesus’ resurrection and appearance can be seen from above.
2. Reflections on the Lord Jesus’ Words to Thomas After His Resurrection
The Bible records, “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:26-29). In the past when I read these verses, I only knew that the Lord Jesus loves us very much and sympathizes with our weakness. He knew Thomas’ inner doubt, so He appeared to him to dispel his doubt. But I didn’t understand more of the Lord’s intentions in doing that and speaking those words. My heart lightened immediately when I read the following words.
The words in the book say, “What the Lord Jesus said to Thomas was also very clearly telling every person: The resurrected Lord Jesus is the Lord Jesus that had initially spent thirty-three and a half years working among mankind. Although He had been nailed to the cross and experienced the valley of the shadow of death, and He had experienced resurrection, His every aspect had undergone no changes. Although He now had nail marks on His body, and although He had been resurrected and walked out from the grave, His disposition, His understanding of mankind, and His intentions toward mankind had not changed in the slightest. Also, He was telling people that He had come down off the cross, triumphed over sin, triumphed over hardships, and triumphed over death. The nail marks were just the evidence of His victory over Satan, evidence of being a sin offering to successfully redeem all of mankind. He was telling people that He had already taken on mankind’s sins and He had completed His work of redemption. When He returned to see His disciples, He told them with His appearance: ‘I’m still alive, I still exist; today I am truly standing in front of you so that you can see and touch Me. I will always be with you.’ The Lord Jesus also wanted to use the case of Thomas as a warning for future people: Although you believe in the Lord Jesus, you can neither see nor touch Him, yet you can be blessed by your true faith, and you can see the Lord Jesus through your true faith; this kind of person is blessed.” From these words we can see that the Lord Jesus’ words to Thomas contained God’s intentions. Although the Lord Jesus experienced resurrection, through His words to Thomas, we can see that He was still the Lord Jesus who used to live alongside His disciples day and night, that He is the God who observes the depths of man’s heart, that He is the almighty God, and that He knew the thoughts and minds of everyone. Before the Lord Jesus was nailed onto the cross, He had known that Thomas did not believe that He is Christ. After the resurrection, He still knew it. So, He specially appeared to Thomas and had him touch His nail marks, making him believe that He is Christ, the incarnated God, so as to remove his doubt about Him and let him see that He was truly resurrected. The Lord Jesus’ resurrection and appearance, this powerful evidence allowed all believers in Him to see such facts: He is the glorious God Himself, He has triumphed over death and Satan, and Christ is with great authority and might. Moreover, the Lord Jesus’ words to Thomas sent us a message: When we , we shouldn’t be like Thomas, only believing what we can see with our own eyes. The most crucial thing for us, followers of God, is to have true faith in Him, which directly concerns whether we can be approved by God and . We will be blessed because of our true faith in God. However, if we always measure God’s appearance and work based on what we see with our own eyes, rather than know God from His words, we will make the same mistake as Thomas. At this point, I cannot help but think of the Lord’s disciple Peter, who could recognize that the Lord is Christ, the Son of the living God. It was because during the time when he was in the company of the Lord, he saw much of what God has and is in the Lord from His word and work that he realized that the Lord is the incarnated God, Christ.
The Lord said that He would come again. Then, will we be able to know Him when He returns today, in the last days? On what basis shall we know Him? Revelation 2:7 says, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Does it prophesy that the Lord will utter His words when He comes again? To welcome the Lord’s , shall we be wise virgins and heed His voice? Thanks be to the Lord! May the Lord show mercy to us and open our spiritual eyes so that we can welcome His return by our true faith! Amen!