9 Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. He had driven seven demons out of her. 10 She went and told those who had been with him. She found them crying. They were very sad. 11 They heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him. But they did not believe it. 12 After that, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them. This happened while they were walking out in the country. 13 The two returned and told the others about it. But the others did not believe them either.
I feel for the disciples in this short narrative of the risen Jesus making himself known. It is easier with hindsight to be puzzled by the disbelief of the disciples when they learnt Jesus was alive again. How did they forget his message to them recorded in Matt 17 verse 23 that he would be raised to life again on the 3rd day? He resurrection was apparently totally unexpected. Two reasons can help explain their reaction: their belief in Jesus as the liberator from Roman rule had been shattered, and of course their grief at losing their friend and teacher, with whom they had spent the last 3 years.
Jesus appears to 3 individuals first, knowing they will take the message back to the larger group, firstly to Mary and then the 2 people on the road to Emmaus. What a special encounter each of these had with the risen Jesus, the chance to talk with him and hear his voice, to encounter the power of the resurrection. They were left in no doubt Jesus was alive again. I imagine the excitement and happiness they must have felt to know their Lord was back! Only to be disbelieved by the disciples when they excitedly reported the amazing news!
Whilst I’m not sure why Jesus chose to appear to people in this order, these events have reminded me that faith follows a personal encounter with the risen Jesus. It’s not until I met Jesus as my Lord that the knowledge and information I knew about him made sense in my heart, and changed me. This is what I pray for people I know who need Jesus – that they will meet him and their hearts will be changed.
Dear Jesus. You have beaten death and won me salvation. This is such great news and thank you for revealing yourself to me. I pray for my friends and family that you will meet them like you did your friends and disciples, and change their disbelief. Amen
Written by Claire Moore