Capture the Meaning of Easter
[Easter family pictures illustration.]
You see without meaning a picture is just a picture. But with meaning a picture turns into a moment that you treasure.
 The Easter holiday is much like pictures on someone else’s camera. You know what the pictures represent, but there just isn’t much meaning behind it. And after all, there are so many different things people do on the Easter holiday.
- Easter egg hunts - Sunrise church services
- Easter bunny - Musical church services, dramas
- Family gatherings - Crosses with Jesus on them, empty crosses
There seems to be a lot of activity on this day. But often people celebrate it with little attention paid to Jesus’ resurrection, the reason for the holiday in the first place.
But did you know that for a time even the disciples didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus? As a matter of fact, it took them totally by surprise. You see:
 Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t anticipated.
When Jesus died on the cross His followers fell apart. How could their Lord have died like that. Such a horrible death. Such an injustice. I mean, what a sudden, tragic ending to a relatively short life and ministry.
When Jesus died it was like someone had just kicked the disciples in the stomach and knocked the wind right out of them. When Jesus was crucified the disciples thought it was over. Jesus was dead and that was it. Luke 24 shows the disciple’s hopelessness.
[Read Luke 24:1-8.]
They remembered how Jesus had talked about His own death, but they still wondered what was going on. They had come to help keep Jesus’ dead body from smelling worse than it needed to as it decomposed in the tomb. But His body wasn’t there! A couple angels appeared to them to let them know that He wasn’t dead any more. That He was actually alive! Not what they expected to see when they set out to visit Jesus’ grave that day. They thought He was dead, but could He have risen from the dead? They just had to go back and tell the disciples.
[Read Luke 24:9-12.]
They just didn’t get it! Peter “wondered” what was going on. Could Jesus have risen from the dead? Could this really be happening?
Well during the next few weeks before Jesus ascended back to Heaven He appeared to all of His disciples and many, many more people. You see, even though Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t anticipated  Jesus’ resurrection would be affirmed.
He showed Himself to many people so they could affirm His resurrection to the masses. These many witnesses are recorded in Scripture so that we can know that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.
The Bible records Jesus appearing in bodily resurrected form to: 
- Mary Magdalene, John 20:11-18
- Other women, Matthew 28:8-10
- Peter, Luke 24:34
- Ten of the disciples, John 20:19-25
- All eleven disciples, John 20:26-29
- Those in Galilee, John 21:1-24
- 500 people at once, I Corinthians 15:6
- James and the apostles, I Corinthians 15:6
- Those at His ascension, Acts 1:4-12
- Paul on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:1-6
 Jesus’ resurrection was affirmed.
And by the way, when these accounts of resurrection sightings were published in book form, many of these witnesses were still alive and could verify these written accounts. If the accounts would have been false, they would have been discredited almost immediately. But they weren’t refuted. They were accepted as eyewitness accounts of Jesus risen from the dead.
We see another account of Jesus appearing to His followers further in our passage.
[Read Luke 24:13-32.]
Isn’t that amazing! They’re walking and talking with Jesus for miles yet didn’t know it was Him. He’s explaining the Scriptures to them and how the Messiah did need to die but then rise again. As they sat down to eat Jesus shared a meal with them that greatly resembled the last supper that He shared with His disciples right before His death. At that meal the light went on and they recognized that it was indeed Jesus Himself sitting before them.
Without hesitation, they left dinner and ran back to Jerusalem some seven miles to tell the disciples what had happened. Jesus was alive and they had seen Him! As they’re telling the disciples what happened, Jesus shows up on the scene.
[Read Luke 24:33-43.]
Jesus appears to His disciples in bodily, resurrected form and they still didn’t understand what was going on. He shows them the scars in His hands and feet from the nails that hung Him on the cross. He even eats some fish right there in front of them. But their joy, their amazement, the emotion of the moment kept them from grasping the reality of the moment.