Easter is celebrated worldwide today, Sunday, April 9, as the faithful commemorate Christ’s resurrection three days after his crucifixion.
The Easter holiday is both a time of great hope and, for some, great confusion, a Kansas pastor told Fox News Digital.
“Though the Easter season brings a sense of hope for many, there are others who struggle with uncertainty regarding the miracle of Christ’s resurrection,” said Connor Kraus, lead pastor at Topeka Bible Church in Topeka, Kansas.
These suspicions are understandable, said Kraus, as even the apostle John was confused as to what was happening on Easter Sunday.
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In John 20:3-9, “Peter and John head off in a sprint to assess Mary Magdalene’s startling claim that the body of Jesus was stolen, as well as to partake in the only biblical footrace on record — where John is sure to mention that he arrived first,” said Kraus.
Connor Kraus is a Kansas pastor. Easter is a time of hope and, for some, may also be a time of confusion, he noted. (Connor Kraus/iStock)
“Once they both arrive on the scene, an investigation takes place, with John taking the lead once again by looking through the tiny doorway and getting his first look at the interior of the tomb,” Kraus continued.
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But when John sees the linen garments that covered Jesus’ body, “instead of heading into the burial tomb to investigate, John … stops,” he added.
“The first to the tomb was the second one inside, but he overcame his moment of uncertainty and trusted in the risen Messiah.”
“It’s Peter who heads in first without a hesitation,” he also said.
While this forthright behavior is typical of Peter, said Kraus, John’s reticence should be studied more closely.
The apostle Peter headed into Jesus’ burial tomb without hesitation, but John hesitated, said Pastor Kraus. (iStock)
“What gave him pause?” Kraus said of the hesitant apostle. “Was he nervous? Overly cautious? Scared?”
Kraus added, “People have tried to pin John’s emotions down for a long time, but John himself is silent on what caused him to stay outside the tomb. Whatever it was, he didn’t want to be the first one in.”
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Peter, when he entered the tomb, also saw the burial cloths — except he reveals they are neatly folded up, meaning it was unlikely Jesus’ body was stolen, as Mary Magdalene feared, Kraus noted.
“What grave robbers in their right mind would bother to stop and fold the laundry? No, this was evidence of something much different — it was proof of the resurrection,” he continued.
Even Jesus’ closest friends were confused about what had happened and why his tomb was empty, said Pastor Connor Kraus of Topeka, Kansas. (Connor Kraus)
John, having seen Peter enter the tomb, “builds up the courage to follow him and bear witness to the same miraculous scene,” explained Kraus.
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“And within the empty tomb, it was now John who saw the folded linens and believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he said.
“The first to the tomb was the second one inside, but he overcame his moment of uncertainty and trusted in the risen Messiah,” he also said.
Mary Magdalene and others found that the tomb that contained Jesus’ body was empty, and initially feared that grave robbers had stolen his body. Instead, the resurrection was revealed, the Bible says. (iStock)
Now, “John’s faith was based on the miraculous fact of the resurrection” that he himself witnessed, noted Kraus.
“Believe that Jesus is alive.”
“Later on,” he continued, “he would explain the deeper truth behind this event when he said, ‘but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name'” (John 20:31).
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“I don’t know what made John pause outside the empty tomb that day,” said Kraus, “but I know that there are many people who can identify with his hesitation.”
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During Easter, take the opportunity to “overcome your doubts and walk into the proverbial empty tomb to witness the folded clothes for yourself, and believe that Jesus is alive,” said Kraus.
“After all, that’s what John did.”