An Unexpected Appearance

September 10, 2020
Volume 24, Number 32

It was the fourth day since the hiker had been seen. There was great concern for the safety of Harry Harvey. He was, after all, 80 years old, and there had been a hailstorm when he went missing in England’s Yorkshire Dales. Royal Air Force members and volunteers from mountain hiking groups had been searching the area to locate him.

A press conference was planned at the Tan Hill Inn on Wednesday to publicize the search. Hopefully a viewer would recognize Harvey’s photo, and tips would lead them to the area where he might be found. The conference was about to begin when an unexpected guest arrive: Harry Harvey!

United Press International carried the story: “Harvey told the press conference he … ended up camping out for three nights using equipment he had brought on the hike. He said he was in good health and free of serious injuries, but in need of a good meal.” We don’t suppose anyone was offended by this man “crashing” the press conference.

An event described by Matthew was not a press conference, but a trip to a cemetery: “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb” (Matthew 28:1). “The tomb” was the place where Jesus had been buried three days earlier following His death on the cross. Mark tells us they brought spices with which to anoint the corpse (Mark 16:1).

In John’s account we learn that Mary Magdalene wept after seeing that the grave had been unsealed and opened. There was no body inside the tomb, and Mary assumed grave robbers or Jesus’ enemies had stolen the body. A voice asked her why she was weeping, and Mary assumed the man with whom she spoke was the gardener.

The man spoke a second time: “Mary!” (John 20:16), and Mary immediately recognized the voice – it was Jesus! Though Jesus had prophesied His death and resurrection several times (e.g. Matthew 16:21, 20:19, 26:32), His followers never seemed to grasp the reality of the event. Mary Magdalene did not expect to see Jesus alive again.

Many others saw Jesus after His resurrection. According to Paul, more than 500 witnessed the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), many of whom were still alive when Paul wrote those words. If anyone doubted the resurrection, these witnesses could vouch for it. It was a phenomenon supported by a large number of credible witnesses.

Luke added these words of affirmation: “… to whom [Jesus] presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). His appearance after His death was unexpected, to be sure. But there can be no doubt Jesus arose!

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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