“Surprise! Jesus is alive!” The two travelers from Emmaus, who had just entertained the risen Savior in their home, were greeted by the disciples with the news that the Lord was no longer in the tomb (Lk. 24:29-34).

How strange that the news of Jesus’ resurrection should be a surprise. He had told them repeatedly that He would rise after 3 days (Mt. 26:61; Mk. 8:31; Jn. 2:19). Yet when Jesus was crucified, His disciples were filled with gloom and despair, though they should have been joyously and expectantly waiting for Him to rise.

Resurrection day is a day of joy and victory! But on that first resurrection day there was gloom and sadness before the disciples realized Jesus was alive. Mark’s Gospel tells us that they “mourned and wept” (Mk. 16:10), but they should have been rejoicing.

It is the resurrection that gives meaning to the cross. The death of Christ alone is bad news, but followed by His rising from the dead it is good news. Why? Jesus took our sins to Calvary. Had He atoned for all but one, He would still be in the tomb. His resurrection is the assurance that the work is finished. God was satisfied, and He demonstrated it by raising Jesus from the grave (Acts 13:32-33).

Hallelujah! The Lord is risen indeed!