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April 21 – Resurrection joy

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” John 20:18

Scripture reading: John 20:1-18

It is clear from reading John’s account of Jesus’ resurrection that Mary Magdalene didn’t expect Jesus to rise from the dead. When she went to the tomb early in the morning and found it empty, her first reaction was not, “He arose” but rather, “Someone has taken the body” (v. 1). Then a little later, when the angels asked her why she was weeping, she answered, “They have taken away my Lord” (v. 13). You see, Mary and Jesus’ other followers lived in the same world we live in, a world in which dead people don’t rise again.

That is precisely John’s point in this passage. While our experience tells us that dead people don’t rise again, Jesus actually did. People who weren’t expecting to see Jesus alive again saw and believed.

Some speak of the resurrection as a “symbol” of Jesus’ continuing influence in the world, but scoff at the idea that He actually rose from the dead, bodily. But John and the other Gospels record eyewitness accounts that Jesus, after He was laid in the tomb, was actually seen upright and walking, heard talking, ate meals and was touched.

And this must be the case, else we have no Saviour. His death on the cross conquered death so that death could not hold Him. His resurrection was the Father’s approbation of Christ’s atonement. His resurrection is the promise and guarantee of the resurrection of His people. It was no “symbol” or metaphor. He really rose from the dead.

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Suggestions for prayer

Give thanks that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the guarantee that when He returns, your body will be raised to eternal life. Pray that the church will never compromise the message that Jesus actually, bodily rose from the dead.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen is the minister of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) in Littleton, Colorado.

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