The next days were event-filled for Simon. He continued to stay in Bethany, but often was in Jerusalem where the eleven disciples were now gathered together. He learned of the death of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had hung himself and died in tragedy. The Sabbath was spent with most of the followers of Jesus in deep despair. All seemed to be in a hopeless state of confusion. They loved Jesus and believed in his teachings but could not seem to apply it to their own lives, plus the fact that they seemed to believe that he was really dead. Surely he had died, but Simon had heard with his own ears what Jesus had said to the thief on the cross by him, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” He had heard Jesus say, “Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit.” Certainly these were not hopeless words! Also, Mary said Jesus had taught the disciples that he would go to Jerusalem, be killed and be raised on the third day. This was common knowledge but somehow the disciples seemed not to believe it. However, the authorities in Jerusalem were concerned about it so they stationed guards about the tomb of Jesus and put a seal upon the tomb.
On the first day of the week, the third day after the crucifixion, Simon went into Jerusalem to see the eleven disciples and to discuss with them what their plans were and to learn more about Jesus’ teachings. Especially he would like to spend more time with John to whom Jesus seemed to be so close. As he arrived at the place where the disciples were he found the place in turmoil. Mary Magdalene and some other women had gone to the tomb very early and discovered the tomb open. The grave clothes were in place but Jesus was not there! Two angels had said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but HE IS RISEN!”
Then they remembered the words of Jesus that he would rise again on the third day! They had rushed into the house and told the disciples. Peter and John had rushed out and were now gone to the tomb. There was quite a debate as to what the government would do. Would they all be arrested now and also be killed? Some were filled with fear, others were more believing-then-Peter and John burst into the room. “He is gone-it’s true!” Everyone gathered around in great excitement. Peter told everything but was still filled with questions, but John was boldly declaring that Jesus had been resurrected as he promised. There was an air of excitement so deep that words could not describe it. Everyone began to remember the teachings of Jesus and his promise of resurrection. Simon was excited beyond measure and was about to rush back to Bethany to spread the word when Mary Magdalene rushed into the house
“I’ve seen Jesus-Jesus is alive! Hallelujah!! He spoke to me-He called my name… Mary!”
Simon leaped to his feet and began to shout. Some others joined in and the huge room was filled with weeping, praising-and some doubts. Then she told how after Peter and John had left she had spoken to Jesus. This was enough for Simon. He knew Mary Magdalene had seen Jesus dead-now alive-and her face was aglow with the presence of Jesus. Simon raced through the streets, his heart beating in excitement. As he passed crowds on the street, he would shout: “Praise God, Jesus is Risen!! Jesus lives-today-Hallelujah!” Never in his life had Simon felt such joy and freedom. Every dream of the fullness of life was now reality. Only one thing gripped him-to spread the good news! He sped down the now familiar road to Bethany and leaped to the door of Lazarus’ home. He swung open the door and shouted: “Jesus is alive-He is risen!!”
Mary, Martha and Lazarus and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, grabbed him; all began to hug and kiss. They were jumping about, crying, laughing, kissing one another.
Lazarus shouted: “This house has really shook in its day. First, my resurrection by Jesus-now He is Risen!” Everyone finally sat down as Simon told everything he had heard and seen. He could hardly speak from being asked so many questions. Alexander and Rufus were in his lap and were so excited. “Then Daddy’s faith in Jesus was real. I knew it, I knew it,” said Rufus. “Now maybe we, too, can see Jesus,” replied Alexander. “Yes”-said Simon-“You can see him and be his disciples.” Mary jumped to her feet: “We must tell Simon and the people gathered at his house.” So soon they were again rushing through the streets to Simon where they spread the news of the Living Jesus. Everyone was rejoicing in gladness. They stayed there for a good while and ate then went into Jerusalem to be with the eleven disciples. They arrived late in the afternoon. Everyone was gathered about listening to Cleopas telling about meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus and of having lunch with him! Simon also had seen Jesus and now the evidence was convincing to almost everyone. They were all gathered about eating and discussing the events of this exciting day when suddenly standing in the room with every door and window shut fast-was-JESUS!
He spoke: “Peace be unto you.” Simon was speechless, everyone was amazed and thought him to be a spirit. Then Jesus said: “Why are you afraid? And why do you doubt? Here are my hands and my feet. It is I! Touch me and see, a spirit hath no flesh and bones… look at me, I have!” Everyone slowly gathered around and looked at the marks. Simon fell to his knees and worshipped Jesus, remembering so clearly as he had seen the nails pierce the hands and feet of Jesus only three days before.
Then Jesus spoke again: “Do you have any meat?” Then they gave him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb and he ate it before them! No words could describe the emotion at that moment. Here-alive and in front of those whom he had trained and called out as disciples, and who had forsaken him and fled, he now stood as their Risen Lord. There was no doubt! No fear, surely Jesus was Lord of all. He was Lord of life; they had seen him heal and provide the needs of men. They had witnessed his death- now he was surely the Lord over death. Everyone was rejoicing as Jesus started to speak again.
“These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.
It is written, that Christ must suffer and be raised from the dead on the third day.
That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you! Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person!”
Simon knelt as he looked up into the eyes of Jesus. It seemed as if every word was for him. Alexander and Rufus was both kneeling by him. Then Alexander said, “Jesus, I believe. Forgive my sins. I am your disciple now!” Then Rufus repeated the same words and both began to weep with joy.