He Is Risen – Hallelujah!
After Jesus had been crucified and his body placed in a tomb, his followers went away in complete and utter shock.
The women who followed Jesus saw where his body was put in the tomb, and they went home and gathered together perfumes and spices to anoint the body with. The next day though, the women, disciples, and other followers rested in obedience to the Jewish commandment on the Sabbath Day, Saturday.
At the crack of dawn on Sunday morning, however, they took their perfumes and spices to the tomb, but the rock they saw placed in front of it had been rolled away. They went into the tomb, but Jesus was not there; instead, there were two angels. The angels said he is not here; he has risen, come back to life, as he said he would on the third day after his death.
St Matthews’s gospel records Jesus teaching his disciples this, he told them; The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again. Matthew 9:31 NRSV
So the women hurried back to the others, afraid but filled with joy. When they recounted what had happened, they were dismissed and told they were talking nonsense. However, Peter went back to the tomb, found some linen strips, and began to wonder what it all meant.
Two of the followers were so desolate that they decided to return to their hometown, Emmaus. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus joined them, but they did not recognise him at first. It took a while to understand the situation, but by then Jesus had left them. So when they finally grasped the importance of what had happened, they dashed back to Jerusalem to tell the others about it, and as they were doing this, Jesus appeared in their midst and said, ‘peace be with you’.
They were all terrified and thought they were looking at a ghost, but Jesus showed them the holes in his hands and feet where the nails had been hammered.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah[n] is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
The power from on high that Jesus refers to is the Holy Spirit which descended upon the disciples at the festival of Pentecost, fifty days later. All who are baptised into the Christian faith receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to protect, guide and sustain them in their faith. You can find out more about the Holy Spirit in this article.
Below you can listen to the Ely Cathedral Choir sing Jesus Christ Is Risen Today ~ written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788)