Summary: We remember the Lord's death each time we partake of the communion. It is a perpetual remembrance, until He comes. Christ has died, and Christ will come again. But meantime, Christ is risen.
THE MEANING OF IT ALL
It is reported in all four Gospels that the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ took place on the first day of the week, when the Sabbath was over. Not only was it the dawn of a new day, it was the dawn of a new week. Not only was it the dawn of a new week, but the dawn of a new era.
The last at the tomb of Jesus two nights before had been Mary Magdalene and her companions. The first at the tomb after the Sabbath was over was Mary Magdalene, along with her companions.
The women brought spices to embalm the hastily buried body of Jesus. In life they had followed Him, and nor were they about to desert Him in death.
It was no small matter for them to attend a grave at such an early hour of the morning. Graveyards are not the happiest of places at the best of times. But perfect love casteth out fear.
Elsewhere in the Gospels we are told that these women had discourse amongst themselves, wondering who would move the stone for them? As often happens in the Christian walk, they arrived to find that the anticipated obstacle was already removed!
However, a greater challenge awaited them. All the perplexities of the last few days were headed up in this one thing. Where was the body of Jesus?
Luke reports that two men in shining garments were next seen at the tomb. This was nothing less than an angelic visitation. The women, in their fear and confusion, bowed their heads to the ground.
The words of the angels remain a challenge to faith, and a rebuttal to unbelief. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” What glorious words of Easter celebration!
All our fears and doubts would be dissolved if we would but remember the word of Christ. It is to His words that the angels next direct the women. How many times as He walked with His disciples had He announced that “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” ? Then they remembered.
We remember the Lord's death each time we partake of the communion. It is a perpetual remembrance “until He comes.” Christ has died, and Christ will come again. But meantime, Christ is risen.
Back in the upper room of the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, the disciples and some other disorientated followers of Jesus had spontaneously gathered together. They did not appear to have any set purpose. They were as perplexed as the women. Sometimes the church appears this way: leaderless, aimless, and confused.
Into this company came the women with their fantastic tale of an empty tomb and a vision of angels. How strange that the church should head the field in scorning these things! “Their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.”
Impetuous as ever, Peter was not about to let the matter rest there. Peter was the next to visit the tomb. Peter looked in, and marvelled to see the empty grave-clothes.
That afternoon, a man named Cleopas and his travelling companion were on their way back from Jerusalem, walking the seven miles to a village called Emmaus. Their conversation was very much taken up with concerns about the death of Jesus.
A stranger drew near, and walked with them. Unbeknown to them, it was Jesus. The Lord drew from them a full rehearsal of the facts surrounding His death, and of the reports of the empty tomb.
It is not enough to know the facts about Jesus. It is necessary that we have a personal encounter with our Lord and Saviour, and allow Him to open up to us the true meaning of the Scriptures concerning Himself. It is no accident that both the Bible and Jesus Himself are known as “The Word of God”!
The Saviour was but a stranger to the two on the Emmaus road as they walked and talked with Him. Yet He revealed Himself to them when they invited Him in to supper. They recognised Him in the breaking of bread.
We do not need to have all the answers in order to become Christians. But when we invite Jesus into our hearts, He will reveal Himself more fully to us. And we will recognise Him in the breaking of bread in the Lord's Supper, and in the fellowship of God's people.
The two now returned from Emmaus, to the upper room in Jerusalem. Their step had been heavy as they had begun their journey from Jerusalem some hours before. But now their step was light, and full of joy, as they returned the seven miles back to Jerusalem. Does not our heart burn within us, and give us new vigour when we have had communion with Christ and listened to His Word?