He Is Risen


F. Melvin Hammond
If you will remember what He did, and how great His love is, your love for Him will grow deeper and deeper.

He Is Risen

I would like to reach out to the young people the world over. I believe you have a special ability to understand important things, so I want to discuss with you the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday we celebrate His rising from the dead and all of us should know the wonderful story of that remarkable event.

It was early on Sunday morning. Deep darkness still hung over the holy city, Jerusalem. Mary of Magdala entered the garden and approached the tomb where the body of Jesus of Nazareth recently had been laid. Just two days before, the humble Christ, hanging from a wooden cross, had given up his life, and mortality had ended for the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh.

Joseph of Arimathaea, a loving follower of Jesus, had gone to the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, and had asked that he be allowed to remove the body from the cross. Permission was granted. The body was taken from the cross, and Joseph, with the assistance of another friend, Nicodemus, gently prepared the body for burial after the manner of the Jews. The kind, loving men placed the body of the deceased in a newly hewn tomb belonging to Joseph. Then a great stone was rolled across the entrance, and a Roman seal was placed upon it, “lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead” (Matt. 27:64).

Now, Mary Magdalene approached the tomb, but to her amazement the huge stone had been rolled away. The body of her beloved Jesus was gone. Quickly she ran to advise the Apostles of this new tragedy, saying, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him” (John 20:2).

Peter, the chief Apostle, and John, the beloved Apostle, hurried to the place of burial. The account of Mary was confirmed. The tomb was indeed empty, except for the linens which had been used to wrap the body. Saddened, the two Apostles went away to their own homes.

“But Mary,” who had followed Peter and John back to the garden, “stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre” (John 20:11). Two angels dressed in white sat within the tomb. Seeing her great grief they asked, “Woman, why weepest thou?” Sorrowfully, she answered them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:13).

Still weeping, Mary turned from the tomb, and through her misty eyes she noticed someone standing close by. The person spoke to her, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” Thinking that perhaps it was the gardener who addressed her, she replied, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:15).

In a voice tinctured with pure love and the sweetest tenderness, he simply uttered one word, “Mary.” There was no mistaking the voice; it was Jesus Christ. And thrilled beyond any comprehension, the dear woman could only say, “Rabboni,” which means Master.

There He stood—alive! Raised from the dead! Never to die again! His perfect body forever united with the spirit, the eternal Christ!

To the credit of gentle, loving women everywhere, our Redeemer chose as the first mortal witness of His resurrection from the dead a woman, Mary Magdalene.

As we contemplate the events leading to the death of Jesus Christ, we tend to grieve for the awful sufferings which He experienced at the hands of wicked men—the terrible rending by the lash, the dreadful nails placed in His hands and feet, the prolonged agony of the cross, and finally His tender heart breaking for the sins of all men.

But stop! He is not dead! His is risen! He is the first fruit of the resurrection. Without Him, life for all men would end at death. All would be consigned to the grave forever. But because of Him, our Savior, even Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, we, every one of us, will live again—freed from the everlasting chains of death.

To all who have lost a loved one to the hand of death, I say have hope. For if we are faithful to the end, they will not be lost to us except for a moment. And then, oh the sweetness of that joyous reunion, for the tender mercy of the Lord will bring them forth triumphant from the grave.

And so, my wonderful young people everywhere, as we celebrate Easter, will you remember the story of Jesus coming out of the grave a perfect, glorified being? Will you remember that He made it possible for all of us to someday be resurrected and to come back and live with Him in the celestial kingdom of God throughout all eternity? Then if you will remember, you will understand His love for all of us, and your love for Him will grow deeper and deeper forever.

[illustrations] Paintings by Keith Eddington and Harry Anderson