The third day he rose again from the dead.
... Friday, . . . Saturday, . . . Sunday (can you fill in the missing words?).
It was very early in the morning of The Third Day that holy women returned to the tomb inthe garden. To their surprise they found it empty, and an angel said, “He is risen” (St. Mark 16, i to 8).
On that first Easter Sunday the friends of Jesus saw him six times; and St. Mary Magdalene, once a sinner who was sorry, was the first of all (St. Mark 16, 9). [However greatly you or I may sin, always our Lord will forgive us, if only we are sorry, and say so.]
His risen body was the same body; and it was a real one (St. Luke 24, 36 to 43: ghosts don’t eat, and you can’t handle, touch them). But it was a spiritual body (St. John 20, 19): locked doors could no more keep Jesus out, than a sealed tomb could keep him in.
During the next six weeks, almost (forty days between Easter Sunday and Ascension Day), many saw, touched, spoke to, ate with our risen Lord (Acts 1,3); on one occasion they numbered more than five hundred (1 Corinthians 15, 6); for it was most important that everybody who believed in him should be quite sure that on “the third day he rose again from the dead.” If he had not, after saying that he would, all his teaching would have been false; the Apostles would have gone back to their money-making and fishing; The Church would never have been started; and after a few years everybody would have forgotten both Christ and Christianity. The wheel would have had no hub.
But on that wonderful third morning, when the sun rose over the hill of death, the round stone had been rolled away by angels, there was nothing and nobody in the tomb. Our Lord had won. Satan was beaten. You and I were saved. Heaven can. be ours.
EASTER DAY IS VICTORY DAY.