All of Christianity is hinged on a single event. No other topic has intrigued or disturbed people more. Some deny it, explaining with fervency that it was impossible. But those who believe in its power are given hope and life. This event is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions of the world. No other human was ever raised from the dead and still lives today, except the Son of God, Jesus Christ. His resurrection is a pivotal truth at the very heart of the entire message of redemption and salvation.
(For images that include art and the Words of Jesus during his 40 days as the resurrected Christ, take a look at FaithClipart's Resurrection Set.)
The Resurrection goes beyond a paranormal event in history. Its purpose was to redeem man, but it was also used to confound the minds of the Roman soldiers who had witnessed that Jesus was dead before his body was taken down from the cross. It was to stir up fear and fury among religious leaders who blamed his missing body on the disciples in order to cover up their evil unbelief. It was to humiliate those responsible for sealing up the tomb, thinking it would prevent his escape. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was intended to divide those who opposed its miracle from those who desired and desperately needed the restoration it promised.
Not much has been written of Thomas in Scriptures, other than reports of his apparent lack of faith, and of the day when he was changed forever. Jesus appeared to Thomas in His resurrected body and allowed the doubting disciple to touch His hands and side. This provided Thomas with the revelation that Jesus was who He said He was, and it proved that He had risen from the dead.
Peter was the first to enter Jesus' tomb and see the empty grave clothes. Peter had suffered bitter grief when he denied he knew Jesus on the night of His arrest. After Jesus' death, Peter may have felt there was no hope for him, or for reconciliation with Jesus. At first, the empty tomb had confirmed his worst fears. But Peter's faith was transformed when he was lovingly restored back into fellowship following a face-to-face encounter with the resurrected Christ.
The many women who had followed Jesus throughout his ministry had stood shocked and grieved at the foot of the cross. Yet they were the ones to whom the angels said, "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said." (Matthew 28:6) Among them, Mary Magdalene was the first to speak to the risen Lord that she had so faithfully served. Mary stood weeping at the entrance to the tomb until Jesus himself appeared to her. With joy and excitement she ran to tell the disciples what she had witnessed.
The resurrection continues to be an anchor of hope for Christians today. Because of Jesus' death on the cross, the price for sins has been paid. But as a result of His resurrection, the power of death and the grave have been conquered. The same restoration that was provided for those who witnessed his resurrection is the same restoration available for those who continue to believe in its power today.