faith jesus cross calvary resurrection

The figure of Christ carrying the cross up Calvary on Good Friday. 

The day Jesus rose from the grave he appeared in a room, with closed doors, to his disciples. He spoke to them on a few topics. He even ate some food to assure them he was not simply an apparition. But the one thing he did, in the two records of this event (Luke 24, John 20), was to show his disciples his nail scarred hands and feet.

The result was they believed and rejoiced. The believing was a little more difficult than the rejoicing, but they managed. That Jesus had risen from the dead meant that he really was God’s Messiah, the Son of God, who could take away the sins of the world. (Matthew 16:13-17; John 1:29)

Besides assuring his disciples that he had indeed overcome death, the penalty for all mankind’s sin (Romans 6:23), Jesus was also reminding them and the rest of humanity that God’s prophecies had been fulfilled. Around 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus, King David wrote “They pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22) Seven hundred years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was pierced through for our transgressions.” (Isaiah 53)

During 520-518 B.C. the prophet Zechariah recorded God’s very words “they will look on Me whom they have pierced.” (Zechariah 12:10) Those disciples had become eyewitnesses to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as to the fulfillment of 300-plus ancient prophecies of God concerning his Messiah — Christ. And the key evidence and message were Jesus’ scarred hands and feet.

One disciple had missed that first Sunday appearance of Jesus to his disciples- Thomas. The other 10 had tried to convince Thomas that they had seen the risen Lord Jesus, but he refused to believe unless he could actually touch Jesus’ nail scars and even the spear scar in his side.

That spear scar was possibly the greatest proof that Jesus Christ had for certain died on that cross 10 days earlier. Those scars were the only proof that Thomas would accept.

So a week after Resurrection Sunday, Jesus the Messiah came to meet with the disciples again and to give Thomas the proof he needed. The Lord Jesus showed Thomas his scars just as he had shown them to the others, and then he invited Thomas to touch those wounds as well — and to believe. Thomas the twin did believe and proclaimed of Jesus “My Lord and my God!” He acted on the truth he now knew. (John 20)

This is what the apostle Paul said he preached, “Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2) Paul also said that he would only boast “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 6) Paul had seen the risen Lord as well and, like all the rest of the disciples, made much of the crucifixion of the Son of God. He believed on the Lord Jesus Christ just as Thomas had.

The faith the disciples, Thomas and Paul expressed was because they saw firsthand the risen Jesus Christ. Jesus announced to Thomas and the other disciples that all those who believed, as Thomas did, yet without seeing, were indeed fortunate/blessed. We may not see those scars as those disciples did, but we have their convinced witness that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead to give us eternal life. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11) They, as Christ’s witnesses, invite you to join Thomas in proclaiming Jesus as your Lord and God.

The proper response to the resurrected Jesus Christ. Today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Terral Bearden is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church and member of Pastors United In Christ.

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