Greetings brothers and sisters,
Have you ever seen someone raised from the dead? Neither have I. I've heard stories of Christians raising the dead, but never talked to a person who was indeed, raised to new life. I've heard of people dying on an operating table, and then coming back to life...not quite the same as walking out of a tomb after being buried for 3 days! I'm looking forward to be able to talk to Lazarus one day.
Luke 1:1-12 These faithful women, who had been a part of Jesus' ministry, who were with Him when He died, were the FIRST to go to the tomb, and the FIRST to see the empty tomb. They were the FIRST to hear that Jesus is alive...risen from the dead. They conversed with angels! What an incredible experience for these women. They are the FIRST to be reminded of Jesus' teachings (Luke 9:22). They were the FIRST to announce the Good News to the 11 apostles. They are the FIRST to be named on this FIRST day of the week, and the FIRST not to be believed, by the men who were closest to Jesus. Is Luke saying something? Why is it so hard for men to believe the truth about Jesus? Am I making this up? Just look at the ratio of women to men in our churches. Luke has been emphasizing the faith of women through his whole gospel. I digress.
Praise God for Peters, who upon hearing the news, run to check it out for themselves. The searching; the wanting confirmation; the pondering of evidence; the excitement at the possibilities! The FIRST day for Peter was one of awe and wonder, and a whole lot of questions.
Luke 1:13-27 That same day - the FIRST day - Jesus appeared to two disciples - obscure individuals; only one is named (Cleopas). On the road to Emmaus, Jesus steps into a conversation about Himself and the events surrounding His death. We are told they are sad, downcast, obviously in need of cheering up. They expected Jesus to be the one to bring redemption to Israel (vs.21). After explaining recent events to this "stranger", they shared that they had heard the reports of the empty tomb. These two individuals had a good understanding of the events, but didn't understand who Jesus really was, nor what His mission was. Jesus was much more than a "prophet"! This might explain why Jesus was so critical of them, calling them "foolish" and "slow to believe". Jesus reminds them that this person they are discussing is the Christ of whom the prophets wrote! So Jesus gave them a crash course in Messiah 101, going through the Old Testament showing how it revealed Jesus, the anointed one, the Christ, announcing His birth, death and resurrection. It would have been quite a lesson to sit in on!
It is very interesting to see who gets to hear about the resurrection FIRST. It is not the super-apostles... it's the nobodies; the ones you least expect - the women and least known. God chooses to reveal Jesus not to the wise, influential, or noble, but to the weak, foolish, and lowly (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). The last shall be FIRST.
"On the FIRST day of the week, very early in the morning" - it's a new day... a new beginning... a new life. The old has ended; the stone is rolled away! What a great picture! Death is not the end, it's only the beginning! What would you do if you were given a second chance to live again? Can you imagine how our first hearers felt after hearing the news. How did you react the FIRST day you heard about a risen Savior? Remember your FIRST day of experiencing the resurrection life of Jesus inside you! Remember coming out of your grave, and being born again into newness of life, given a chance to truly live the life you were created to live. Remember the zeal, passion, excitement! - The truth that a risen Savior now lives on the inside of you, and you can start over, living your life in "the power of the resurrection"! Friends, I don't believe the FIRST has to be the FIRST for you and me, I believe the FIRST can be your ALWAYS; your EVERYDAY!
Live everyday like it's the first!