Bible Insights

Easter Sunday

He Has Risen!

Today’s passage: John 20:1–18

Focus verse: Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)

Jesus dies. His body is prepared for burial and his human shell is placed in a tomb. A large stone seals the entrance.

But this isn’t the end. In many respects, it’s the beginning. Three days later, he rises from the dead. Here’s what happens:

After his death, Jesus’s body is laid hastily in the tomb before the start of the Sabbath. With the Sabbath now over, Mary Magdalene heads to the tomb early the next morning, while it’s still dark.

When she arrives, she’s shocked at what she sees. The stone that blocked access to his tomb is no longer there. This isn’t what she expected.

She runs to tell Peter and John (the disciple Jesus loved) what she assumes happened: “They’ve taken Jesus’s body from the tomb, and I don’t know where they put him.”

Peter and John run to Jesus’s grave. John gets there first and peers inside. When Peter arrives, he goes right in. The burial cloths are there, but Jesus’s body is gone.

Seeing for themselves, they believe what Mary said—that his body is gone—and they leave.

Mary, however, stays at the tomb, tears flowing. She sees two angels inside. They ask her why she’s crying. “They’ve taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they moved him.”

Jesus—now very much alive—walks up behind her. “Why are you crying?”

She assumes he’s the gardener and asks where he moved the body.

Jesus calls her by name. “Mary.”

She turns to him and cries out in relief.

Jesus tells her to go and tell the disciples he’s alive and will soon return to his Father in heaven. In doing so, Jesus tasks Mary to deliver the most important message throughout all history. “Jesus is alive! He has risen from the dead!”

Though her culture doesn’t accept a woman’s testimony, Jesus doesn’t care. Mary will serve fine as his messenger.

This makes her the first missionary to tell others the good news about Jesus, that he has risen.

We call this day Easter when we celebrate his resurrection from the tomb. A better label is Resurrection Sunday.

On this first Resurrection Sunday, Jesus is victorious over the finality of death. This proves his mastery over the grave. Through this resurrection power he provides, we, too, can rise from the dead. And if we follow Jesus, we will.

Then we’ll live with him and Father God forever.


  • What can we do to celebrate what Jesus did when he died and rose again?
  • How can we best tell others about him?

Prayer: Jesus, may we celebrate your victory over death when you rose from the dead. May we tell others the good news.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven in The Victory of Jesus. The Victory of Jesus is another book in Peter DeHaan’s beloved Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series. Get your copy today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.