And the next day, the sun came up on the fearful and grief-stricken. They anxiously moved about keeping a low profile and a few more people were crucified, whipped, thrown in jail, oppressed, despised, ignored…

Sun fall and night rise… Sun fall and night rise… and then, the sun came up and birds chirped. Flies buzzed by and the markets opened. A litter of kittens was born and children giggled. Morning prayers were offered. All of these were the usual soft edges to a hard world.

But this third day would change the very meaning of day. The Son of God rose from the dead and the Kingdom of God finally had irrefutable proof. ‘No more let sin and sorrow reign; nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.’[1]

Jesus had come teaching the Kingdom of God is at hand. The light had come into the darkness and the darkness had no clue. A few were not so blind and saw the light. But risen from the dead? This changes everything.

For hundreds of years of Hebrew history, the promises and miracles of God had sustained hope in an unsympathetic world. Repeatedly, God’s people would fall back to bondage and hopelessness. They longed for the promise of Messiah, but generations died without the dream being realized.

When John the Baptist came on the scene, something deeper stirred in Israel. Even though he would one day be executed, John prepared people for the coming King. The hope of Israel was being resurrected.

Matthew 4:
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
 the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
 Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
 have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
 a light has dawned.”

On the day that Jesus rose from the dead, the greatest human problem was solved. Eternal life was clearly defined and full, bodily resurrection demonstrated. Jesus was the first and we can now live with light in a dark world knowing that all suffering is temporary. We can follow Jesus and see signs along the way that all is not lost. Something better is on its way. We can have peace is a war-filled world. We are still more sinful than we think we are, but God’s Love offers mercy and the eternal hope of full restoration.

As Jesus appeared to the bewildered disciples after rising from the dead, something special was given to them.

John 20:
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus breathed on them. Just as God had breathed life into the first man, the Holy Spirit was being exhaled into the human condition. This was the same Holy Spirit that had raised Jesus from death.

[1] Joy To The World, by Isaac Watts, based on the 2nd half of Psalm 98