By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
JERUSALEM (BosNewsLife Columns)-- A man claiming to be the Messiah rose up from death Sunday, April 16, after He died at a cross on Golgotha hill near Jerusalem's walls, his friends said.
Jesus Christ had been tortured and crucified to death Friday, April 14, by Roman forces, after Jewish crowds rallied against Him for reportedly saying that He is the Heavenly King who will sit "at the right hand" of his Heavenly Father, giving eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.
A close friend, Mary Magdalene, said she initially had been crying after not finding Jesus Christ's human remains in the Jerusalem tomb where He was hastily buried in time for the Jewish Sabbath.
She eventually turned around and "saw Jesus" standing nearby, the woman claimed. "He said, 'Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'", Magdalene recalled, adding that she initially thought it was a gardener.
"I said 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him'. But when He said 'Mary' I turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!'," which means 'Teacher', she said.
However she said He told her: “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
One of Jesus Christ's well-known 'disciples', or students, Simon Peter, acknowledged that he was initially shocked when Magdalene said: “I have seen the Lord!”, an announcement that turned her into the first known evangelist.
Soon after, Peter said, he also "saw Jesus" and realized that "God raised him up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead."
Peter and other witnesses said Christ confirmed to be the "Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit."
In published remarks, Christ's followers, also known as Christians, made clear they planned to become evangelists among both Jews and non-Jews. "Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name," they said.
Roman Empire officials had no immediate comment, but followers of Christ expected persecution.
Soldiers guarding the tomb played down claims that Christ conquered death and sin in His resurrection on the third day, saying "His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep."
The military did not address reports that soldiers had been paid to make the statement by chief priests opposing His activities and were concerned about repercussions from the Roman governor.
He had been predicting His death, at the age of 33, as part of what He viewed as a mission to die for the sins of the world as He made clear that the wages of sin is death. His supporters said they now realized that the free gift of God is eternal life in "Christ Jesus our Lord."
Friends quoted Him as saying: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
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