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Finding Joy in Easter

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Easter is a celebration, but you may be struggling. Those who were closest to Jesus, His disciples and friends, lost hope after His crucifixion (Luke 24:11). But all that changed. It can change for you, too.

Consider Mary Magdalene. Jesus had dramatically changed her life. She’d been touched by His love for her, yet after His crucifixion, she was heartbroken. She wept for the loss of the one who had defended her. With His body missing from the tomb, she couldn’t fathom what was occurring. Yet on Resurrection Day, she would receive great joy. We read in Luke’s Gospel that angels appeared to announce: “He is not here, but has risen.” (Luke 24:6 ESV) John tells us that Jesus took note of her pain and tears, and while she did not recognize Him, He called her name, “Mary.” (John 20:14-16) That changed everything. She would run to tell the disciples what she’d seen and heard. He is risen! 

After Jesus’ death the disciples were scared for their lives, hiding in a locked room. Yet Jesus literally enters into their presence and declares, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:19-20) Fear was replaced with peace. Hopelessness was replaced with hope. Jesus ensured that they knew peace was found through Him. Yet, remember who wasn’t there in that locked room? Doubting Thomas. When his friends shared they had seen the Lord, he answered: 

“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (v. 25) Thomas had doubts that lingered, so Jesus once again stands in their midst and declares, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (v.26-27) Jesus addressed Thomas’s doubts specifically. He knew Thomas’s area of struggle, and instead of berating him, Jesus brought him clarity—like the two on the road to Emmaus. After Christ’s death, they walked the road discouraged that Jesus hadn’t done things as they had expected. Luke’s Gospel tells us that as they walked and talked, Jesus Himself came and walked with them, yet they were kept from recognizing Him. The more time they spent with Him, “Their eyes were opened and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:31-32)  

From downcast, to hearts burning within them, this is the power of Jesus. Spending time in His presence is key to a heart that burns for Him. They soon declared, “He has risen.” Their hearts burned, but Peter’s was broken. Self-inflicted wounds. Regret. Peter had promised Jesus he’d never leave Him, that he was ready to die for Him. Yet he’d denied his friendship with Jesus three times. Even in his shame, when he heard reports the tomb was empty, he ran toward it. Rather than wallow in sadness, he made the decision to seek Jesus, again. Heaven surely took note of this, as afterward when Peter resumed fishing, Jesus orchestrated the miraculous catch of fish, and it was Peter who jumped in the water to greet his old friend. In this beautiful moment, Jesus prepares and serves his disciples breakfast, and engages with Peter to reassure him he is loved.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not Mary Magdalene’s heartbreak. Not the fear of the disciples. Not Thomas’s doubts. Not the confusion and discouragement felt by those on the road to Emmaus. Not the shame of Peter. Jesus lovingly engaged with all of these, and as a result some of their hearts burned and some were so happy they jumped out of boats! Whatever fears, doubts, or heartache we experience, Jesus is there to bring us hope, too.


Scripture is quoted from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.

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About The Author


CBN Vice President of The 700 Club | This New Jersey native moved to Virginia for grad school at Regent University, then a blind date with a southern girl changed his life. Three kids later, Andrew is the VP of The 700 Club, and a co-host of 700 Club Interactive. Prior to these roles he served as CBN’s Sports Reporter, interviewing the likes of John Wooden, Michael Irvin, James Brown, and Louis Zamperini, and reporting from the Super Bowl, Final Four, and World Series. His second Masters’ is in Practical Theology, and he loves spending time with his family, playing the drums, and reading non

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