Scripture: “After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” – Acts 1:3 CSB

Devotional: On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The world will tell you it is all mere myth, a fabrication by the faithful, just a fable. But the Bible offers convincing proof. In the cold aftermath of Christ’s agony in the garden, His arrest, His trial, His scourging, His crucifixion, His humiliation, and His entombment, He deliberately presented Himself to His followers as the Living One.

The text says that He did it with many “convincing proofs.” The old KJV puts it this way: “many infallible proofs.” As Dr. Luke wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, he chose a technical term that means that the Lord Jesus gave His disciples such compelling, convincing, infallible proofs, that together, these proofs drove away every doubt, and quelled every question that He was risen indeed. Notice the word “many.”  He gave them an over-abundance of evidence that having been dead, He was now alive, having been raised.

Why should we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Because of the compelling eyewitness evidence of His resurrection. On 11 specific occasions we are told that Jesus appeared to His followers across a 40-day period. He appeared indoors and outdoors. He appeared on a mountain in Galilee and on a suburban road outside of Jerusalem. He appeared by day and by night. He appeared to individuals, small groups, and to one group as large as 500 people.

He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, at dawn, in the garden, by the tomb (John 20:11-18), and then to a group of women who were coming to anoint His dead body (Matt. 28:1-10). His third appearance that first Easter was to two disciples on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). When He came to their home, He blessed the bread, broke the bread, and gave the bread to them, and their eyes were opened and they knew that it was the risen Lord. And on that same first Easter, the record tells us that He appeared to Simon Peter—a private, individual encounter between the risen Lord and this fallen follower that helped turn Him from Peter cowering before a servant girl to Peter boldly preaching at Pentecost (1 Cor. 15:5).

The fifth and final appearance that Easter Sunday was in the evening to a gathering of the 10 in the upper room, Thomas being absent (John 20:19-23). Jesus came and stood in their midst, and when they saw His hands, feet, and side, they were overjoyed to see the risen Lord. The next week, Thomas, the doubter, came face to face with Jesus. Jesus said “Reach here your finger and see my hand. Reach here your hand and put it into my side. Be not unbelieving but believing.” Thomas fell on his face and cried: “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:24-29). According to Luke, Jesus even ate broiled fish as proof that He was risen indeed (Luke 24:36-49). This was no ghost hovering. He had a body that functioned, one they could touch. He gave them infallible proofs. He appeared again to the disciples on the shores of Galilee, fixed them a meal and told them where to let down their nets for a catch (John 21:1-13).

In 1 Cor. 15:6, Paul mentions the most impressive appearance of all, in which He appeared to over 500 people. This was likely the same appearance recorded by Matthew in Galilee when Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16:20). But then Paul makes this stunning statement: that most of them were still alive, in AD 55 when he wrote the Corinthian letter. He put his own character and name on the line. Look them up! Ask them! You can find them! They have identities, they have addresses, and families! More than half of them are still alive! Someone observed that if those 500 people had testified six minutes each in a court of law, you would have more than 50 hours of accumulated evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

He also appeared to His younger half-brother James according to 1 Cor. 15:7. They grew up in the same Galilean home there in Nazareth, but according to John 7:5, we are told that James didn’t believe in Him. And yet something changed His brother James from being a doubter and a skeptic to becoming the first pastor of the Jerusalem church, a writer of Scripture, and a martyr for the Christian faith. Could it have been anything other than the appearance of his resurrected older half-brother, standing in the presence of this one who had grown up along-side of him in that home?

Our Lord appeared to all of the apostles, and then appeared here in Acts 1:9-11 at His ascension on the Mount of Olives: 11 specific times across 40 days, not to mention the unnamed appearances during that time. If we simply take the evidence as it is given to us in the documents of the New Testament, there is no other conclusion than to confess that Jesus Christ who was dead, is now alive, for God raised Him out of that tomb, and He triumphed over death, hell, and the grave.

Convincing proofs. Too many people saw Him on too many different occasions for it to have been a hoax, a fabrication, a myth. There’s no way that 500 people could be kept under hypnosis. Somebody would have leaked it had it been a sham. He gave them infallible proofs. And years later they were still convinced. The Apostle John wrote in his first letter (1 John 1:1): “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard with our ears, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have examined, and our hands have touched—the Word of Life.” The audible, visible expression of the invisible God! Half a century later, John still maintained that he had seen, heard, and touched the risen Lord. Or what about old Peter, that gruff fisherman, by no means a mystic. In his second letter, he said: “We have not followed cleverly devised fables when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

What would a secular historian say about this kind of evidence? Dr. Paul L. Maier, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, states: “The documentary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is better attested than some events in secular history...We have more eyewitness evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead than for the death of Alexander the Great in Babylon in 323 BC or than we do for the famous assertion that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River.” More eyewitness evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ! And these same disciples who saw Him live and die and live again also saw Him return into the heavens. The Risen Christ offered convincing, infallible proofs of His resurrection from the dead.

So what does that mean for us? Because Christ has been raised from the dead, He has taken the sting out of sin. He has taken the gloom out of the grave. He has taken the dread out of death. He has given us a hope and a future that is bright and certain. That is Good News we should share with others who do not yet have that hope.

Prayer: Almighty God, we praise You for this day of victory and celebration. Thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross as proof of Your great love for us. Thank You for that first resurrection day when our Savior stirred, then stood, then stepped out of that Tomb alive, having broken the chains of death, hell, and the grave to give us hope of the same. It is in His name we thank and praise You, Amen.

Attend Worship

That’s a given, right? If you can get everyone up early, try to attend a Sunrise Service.

Make Easter Eggs

  • Buy the necessary number of eggs, a package of Easter egg dye, and have vinegar and water on hand.
  • Drop the eggs into boiling water and follow the package instructions for mixing the dye and dipping and drying the eggs.
  • While the eggs are boiling or drying, talk about the history of Easter Eggs as a symbol of the Resurrection:
    • As missionaries and crusaders spread Christianity across Europe, the egg became a symbol of the resurrection.
    • At medieval church services, eggs were tossed among choir members while hymns were sung.
    • In nineteenth-century Russia, elaborately decorated eggs (egg painting is still a Russian specialty, particularly in the Ukraine) were carried to church in a basket on Easter and exchanged with the words “Christ is risen.” At the end of the service, worshippers would tap their eggs together, much as people clink glasses for a toast.
    • In France, children once rolled eggs down a slope in remembrance of the stone being rolled away from Christ’s tomb, the object being to keep the eggs from breaking.
    • In the early 1800s, First Lady Dolley Madison introduced an Easter egg roll in Washington, D.C. during her husband’s presidency. It has become a tradition.
  • Hide the eggs…but not inside. Otherwise, you may “smell” the one you lost later.

Easter Egg Hunt Tips

Simple things that can make an Easter Egg Hunt more organized, particularly for a larger family.

  • Buy colorful plastic Easter eggs, some Easter candy, and cut strips of paper and write some simple messages on them (e.g., sacrifice, hope, alive, forever, love) for kids who can read.
  • Insert a candy and a message into each empty egg.
  • Gather up loose change and some small bills for insertion into one egg per each child. If you could find a gold egg or spray paint one gold, that will set it apart.
  • Color code the plastic eggs so when the “Easter Bunny” hides the eggs, it can be done according to age.
  • Each child is given a color to hunt. This ensures that each person gets the same number of eggs, same candy, etc. This cuts down on the crying in the end.
  • Also, tell them that every child gets one golden egg, which has money in it—coins, one dollar, or a five dollar bill. They always like that one.
  • The younger the child, the less “hidden” the eggs should be.

Make a Resurrection Tree
The Resurrection Tree is a simple but fun way to learn about the days leading up to Easter, including Palm Sunday through Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It doesn’t have to be elaborate…

  • Take a trip out in the yard or woods to find branches to use. The tree can be as fancy as your family wants, using materials from the craft store. It can be painted or kept the natural wood color.
  • Anchor the tree in a clay pot or basket with sand or stones. Finding just the right rocks or stones would be a fun activity … another chance to talk about the stone that was rolled away on Easter morning.
  • Start a week or so prior to Easter Sunday.
  • Read a Scripture about the last week of Jesus’ life and through His resurrection and discuss.
  • Then hang a decorated egg with twine or ribbon glued to each egg to then loop on a branch of the tree.

By the time Easter Sunday comes, you will have a meaningful decoration for Easter festivities made by you and your kids.