The Resurrection of Jesus: Do You Believe He Lives?

Shared on March 31, 2024

Do you believe He is risen? Do you believe Jesus lives? Jesus’ birth and resurrection is a stumbling block for many people. In this week’s lesson, we will even see Jesus’ closest followers struggled to believe. Join Pastor McCrary for today’s lesson as we take a look at what it takes for one to believe in the resurrection.


It is Easter— Resurrection Sunday!  What is it that we celebrate on this Sunday?  We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As we sing every Easter Sunday, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!”  On this Resurrection Sunday we are going to be taking a look at the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for all people.

Jesus Lives!

Our lesson opens on the first day of the week – Sunday – with women coming to the tomb of Jesus (Luke 24:1).  Some of the women that went to the tomb are named in Luke 24:10.  Some of those that went to the tomb were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James (not James the brother of John).  Now, Salome, the mother of James and John is mentioned in other scripture being with the women going to the tomb (Mark 16:1).

The empty tomb

When I teach this lesson, I always like to point out the reason why these women were going to the tomb.  These women had a great deal of courage as they were also all there at the cross whereas Jesus’ disciples, except John, weren’t at the cross (Mark 15:40).  

The disciples weren’t present because all of them ran away when Jesus was arrested and then Peter and John eventually came back to see Jesus on trial.  Peter eventually denied knowing Jesus three times before eventually departed.  John, however, remained all the way up to the death of Jesus on the cross (John 19:26-27).

So, the women were present when Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body, anointed it, wrapped it, and buried it in Joseph’s tomb (John 19:38-42).  Because it was such a rush job to do before the beginning of Sabbath, the women were now going to the tomb to properly bury Jesus. 

There was only one problem with this plan:  Jesus wasn’t in the tomb.  When they got to the tomb, the stone covering the entrance to the tomb was rolled away (Luke 24:2-3).  There had been an earthquake caused by an angel that had rolled back the stone (Matt. 28:2).

Luke wrote that the women were perplexed about the tomb being empty.  As they were trying to figure out what was going on, two men stood by them in shining garments (Luke 23:4).  These two men were angels of the Lord.

Remember Jesus’ teaching

As the women stood by, afraid to look at the two angels, the angels asked, “why do you seek the living among the dead?”  The angels said to the women, “He is not here, but is risen (Luke 24:6).”

Now, these were women that had diligently followed Jesus and heard His teaching.  Jesus taught about His death and rising again on the third day on several occasions.  While I do believe that these women believed in Jesus’ power, I don’t know if they truly believed He would rise again.

What do I mean by this?  For example, Martha and Mary believed that Jesus could do anything.  When Lazarus died, Martha said to Jesus, “if You had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21).”  There was no struggle for them to believe in what they could see, but the resurrection of Christ was their first test of faith.

What is faith?  Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).  To the Corinthians, Paul said that one must “walk by faith, not by sight.”  Faith is what you confess in your heart.

So, yes, this was a first test for many of those to believe in what they had never seen before.  Yes, Lazarus was risen from the dead but they were able to see and hear Jesus call Lazarus forth.  There was nobody there to call Jesus forth!  The angels did not call Jesus forth.

So, the women had to move by faith in the same manner that we have to go by faith today.  We must remember the teachings of Christ and trust His word is the truth.  How did the women respond to the words of the angels?  We are told that they remembered Jesus’ words and returned to let the eleven know what they saw (Luke 24:8-9).

The disciples’ response

Now, let’s take a look at the disciples’ response that He is risen and that Jesus lives.  

We are told in Luke 24:11, that the words of the women seemed like “idle tales” to the disciples.  The disciples “did not believe” the women.  I want to repeat, these were the men that followed Jesus closer than anybody.  So, it was easy for the disciples to see Jesus and believe in Him.  

Now that He died, the disciples were in the position that we are in today in that we have to believe the report of others.  Many people question the truth of Jesus because of who delivers the message.  The women were delivering the message that Christ was risen on behalf of the angels, right?  The message of the gospel which was shared by the apostles was shared on the behalf of Christ.

Today, I preach Christ but some may or may not believe in Christ because I am delivering the message.  Again, this same thing holds true for others that minister Christ as well.  At the same, none of us have ever seen Christ which can make the message difficult for many to believe.  It has been said for generations now by many, “if only I could have been there to see Him.”

Luke tells us that Peter got up and ran to the tomb (Luke 24:12).  In his gospel, John tells us that he also ran to the tomb and beat Peter there (John 20:3-4).  When they got to the tomb they both saw that it was empty.  

They noticed Jesus’ graveclothes lying in the tomb and they both departed and marveled.  They had to go and see the empty tomb for themselves to believe the report of the women.  With the linen He was wrapped in being the only left behind, the two disciples could also believe He had risen.  

Jesus said to Thomas after Thomas had seen the resurrected Christ, “because you have seen Me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29).”

Part of me is kind of sad at the disciples’ response but I certainly understand their response.  The sad part comes from the fact that I can easily believe in Christ without seeing, but that’s because that’s all I have ever done.  I can understand their response because they never had to believe in Christ without seeing.  So, their initial response could serve as part of their testimony to share with others who may not believe for the same reason.

Two on the road to Emmaus

The lesson closes out with this same thought being repeated through two who were on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).  The two men were followers of Christ that had heard the women share the message that Jesus lives.  Like the eleven, these two did not believe the report of the women.

As they journeyed to the village called Emmaus, they were joined by another.  The other that had joined them was the resurrected Christ but they were unable to recognize Him.  So, as they journeyed, they shared with the unrecognizable Christ all that had happened to Jesus.

Finally, as they got closer to the village, the unrecognizable Christ reminded them of the things that He taught.  Then, when they entered their homes and sat down to eat.  Jesus blessed and broke the bread which opened their eyes to who they were with.  In that very moment, Jesus vanished from them.

Immediately the two men rushed back to the eleven to tell them what they witnessed.  Again, I don’t blame these earlier followers for their initial reactions to the resurrected Christ.  They truly believed that they had lost Jesus to the initial punishment of sin which is the grave.

Jesus, however, rose with all authority given to Him (Matt. 28:18).  These early disciples were given a wonderful story to then minister to the rest of the world.  As Peter said in his letter, they were eyewitnesses to Christ (2 Pet. 1:16).  The question that all of us must answer today is whether or not we believe their report.  Do you believe that Jesus lives? 

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