As we sing our “Hallelujahs” on Easter morning, we will be rejoicing with genuine joy from our hearts. We may think that feeling such a joy is only natural on the anniversary of the resurrection of our dear Lord Jesus. However, as we read the accounts of that first resurrection morning, we are reminded that the joy and peace of believing is anything but natural.
“And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”Luke 24:45
To find out what emotions would control our hearts without the Lord opening our understanding so that we might comprehend the Scriptures, we need only recall what emotions controlled the hearts of the disciples—-including the devout women—on that first resurrection day (Luke 24:45).
“And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.” Luke 24:11
Mary Magdalene jumped to the wrong conclusion—that not only had Jesus been crucified by His enemies but also that His body had been stolen! Only adding to the disciples’ misery, they were ready to believe this. When the rest of the women came back to the apostles and reported that they had seen the Lord, “their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11).
There was grief and sadness. There was guilt and confusion. There was a lot of doubt, and not just from Thomas.
What was missing was the joy and peace that only the presence of a risen Savior could bring. The disciples needed the reminder delivered by the angels—the truth of the gospel which Jesus had repeatedly taught them, saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:7).
Jesus Appeared to Them!
In their distress the disciples could not comprehend the amazing gospel truth of a crucified and risen Savior. Then Jesus, our risen Savior, appeared to them! He appeared first to the women and to Mary, then to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later to the disciples in the inner room, demonstrating for all the reality of His resurrection.
“Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20)!
Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! And with that truth came the assurance of sins forgiven and the joy of their salvation.
Theirs, and ours! Jesus lives! Our Savior lives forevermore!
Our Easter joy and peace are wonderful gifts which the Holy Spirit has worked in our hearts as we hear the Easter gospel from the Scriptures. This is the joy and peace of believing!
We hear our Savior’s own words which He spoke to the disciples as He suddenly appeared in their midst on that first Easter evening: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
Some might say that this was a common greeting among the Jews, but when is a common greeting more than a greeting? — It is when Jesus speaks to us of our peace with God!
“[Jesus] was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 4:25-5:1).
God declared all of us to be justified by raising His Son from the dead. The debt of sin has been paid. The enmity has been taken out of the way. The Spirit has opened our hearts to believe this gospel of God’s love and forgiveness through a crucified and risen Savior.
And so we have peace, and from that peace comes a joy that cannot be taken away from us.
This coming Easter morn, let our “Hallelujahs” be enthusiastic expressions of genuine Easter joy and peace!