Story of Hope


Chapter 9 - The Conquest


The disciples rested on the Sabbath, mourning the death of their Lord, while Jesus, the King of glory, lay in the tomb. As night approached, soldiers were stationed to guard the Savior’s resting place, while angels hovered unseen above the sacred spot. The night wore slowly away, and while it was yet dark the watching angels knew that the time had nearly come for the release of Gods Son, their loved Commander. As they were waiting with the deepest emotion for the hour of His triumph, a mighty angel came flying swiftly from heaven. His face was like the lightning, and his garments white as snow. His light dispelled the darkness from his track and caused the evil angels, who had triumphantly claimed the body of Jesus, to flee in terror from his brightness and glory. One of the angels who had witnessed the scene of Christ’s humiliation and was watching His resting place joined the angel from heaven, and together they came down to the sepulcher. The earth trembled and shook as they approached, and there was a great earthquake. SH 76.1

Terror seized the Roman guard. Where now was their power to keep the body of Jesus? They did not think of their duty or of the disciples’ stealing Him away. As the light of the angels shone around them, brighter than the sun, that Roman guard fell to the ground like dead men. One of the angels laid hold of the great stone, rolled it away from the door of the sepulcher, and seated himself on it. The other entered the tomb and untied the cloth from the head of Jesus. SH 76.2

“Your Father Calls You” —Then, with a voice that caused the earth to quake, the angel from heaven cried out, “O Son of God, Your Father calls You! Come out!” Death could hold dominion over Him no longer. Jesus arose from the dead, a triumphant conqueror. In solemn awe the gathered angels gazed on the scene. And as Jesus came out from the sepulcher, those shining angels bowed themselves to the earth in worship and greeted Him with songs of victory and triumph. SH 76.3

The Report of the Roman Guard —As the host of heavenly angels left the tomb and the light and glory passed away, the Roman guard ventured to raise their heads and look about them. They were filled with amazement as they saw that the great stone had been rolled from the door of the sepulcher and that the body of Jesus was gone. They hurried to the city to make known to the priests and elders what they had seen. As those murderers listened to the marvelous report, paleness marked every face. Horror seized them at the thought of what they had done. If the report was correct, they were lost. For a time they sat in silence, looking at one another’s faces, not knowing what to do or what to say. To accept the report would be to condemn themselves. They went aside to consult regarding what to do. They reasoned that if the report of the guard were to circulate among the people, those who put Christ to death would be killed as His murderers. SH 77.1

They decided to hire the soldiers to keep the matter secret. The priests and elders offered them a large sum of money, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ ” Matthew 28:13. And when the guard asked what would happen to them for sleeping at their post, the Jewish officers promised to persuade the governor and secure their safety. For the sake of money, the Roman guard sold their honor and agreed to follow the counsel of the priests and elders. SH 77.2

The First Fruits of Redemption —When Jesus, hanging on the cross, cried out, “It is finished,” the rocks split, the earth shook, and some of the graves were opened. When He arose a victor over death and the grave, while the earth was reeling and the glory of heaven shone around the sacred spot, many of the righteous dead, obedient to His call, came out from their graves as witnesses that He had risen. Those favored, risen saints came out glorified. They were chosen and holy ones of every age, from creation down even to the days of Christ. So while the Jewish leaders were seeking to conceal the fact of Christ s resurrection, God chose to bring up a company from their graves to testify that Jesus had risen, and to declare His glory. SH 77.3

Those who came to life after the resurrection of Jesus appeared to many, telling them that the sacrifice for mankind was completed, that Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, had risen from the dead. In proof of their words they declared, “We are risen with Him.” They testified that it was by His mighty power that they had been called from their graves. Despite the lying reports that circulated, the resurrection of Christ could not be concealed by Satan, his angels, or the chief priests, for this holy company, brought out from their graves, spread the wonderful, joyful news. Jesus also showed Himself to His sorrowing, heartbroken disciples, dispelling their fears and causing them joy and gladness. SH 78.1

The Women at the Sepulcher—Early in the morning of the first day of the week, before it was yet light, devout women came to the sepulcher, bringing sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus. They found that the heavy stone had been rolled away from the door of the sepulcher, and the body of Jesus was not there. Their hearts sank within them, and they feared that their enemies had taken away the body. Suddenly they saw two angels in white clothing, their faces bright and shining. These heavenly beings understood what the women had come to do, and immediately they told them that Jesus was not there. He had risen, but they could see the place where He had lain. They told them to go and tell His disciples that He would go ahead of them into Galilee. With fear and great joy, the women hurried back to the sorrowing disciples and told them the things they had seen and heard. SH 78.2

The disciples could not believe that Christ had risen, but they ran quickly to the sepulcher, along with the women who had brought the report. They found that Jesus was not there. They saw His linen grave-clothes but could not believe the good news that He had risen from the dead. They returned home, marveling at what they had seen, and also at the report the women had brought them. SH 78.3

But Mary chose to linger around the sepulcher, thinking of what she had seen and feeling distressed with the thought that she might have been deceived. She felt that new trials awaited her. Her grief revived, and she broke out in bitter weeping. She stooped down to look again into the sepulcher, and there she saw two angels clothed in white. One was sitting where the head of Jesus had lain, the other where His feet had been. They spoke to her tenderly and asked her why she wept. She replied, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” John 20:13. SH 79.1

“Do Not Cling to Me”—As she turned from the sepulcher she saw Jesus standing near, but she did not recognize Him. He spoke to her tenderly, inquiring why she was sorrowful and asking whom she was seeking. Supposing that He was the gardener, she asked Him, if He had carried away her Lord, to tell her where He had laid Him, so that she could take Him away. Jesus spoke to her with his own heavenly voice, saying, “Mary!” She knew the tones of that dear voice and quickly answered, “Master!” In her joy she was about to embrace Him, but Jesus said, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” John 20:17. Joyfully she hurried to the disciples with the good news. Jesus quickly ascended to His Father to hear from His lips that He accepted the sacrifice and to receive all power in heaven and on earth. SH 79.2

While Jesus was in the presence of God and surrounded by His glory, He did not forget His disciples on the earth. He received power from His Father so that He could return and give power to them. The same day He returned and showed Himself to His disciples. He allowed them then to touch Him, for He had ascended to His Father and had received power. SH 79.3

Doubting Thomas—At this time Thomas was not present. He would not humbly receive the report of the disciples, but firmly and self-confidently affirmed that he would not believe unless he could put his fingers in the prints of the nails and his hand in the side where the cruel spear was thrust. In this he showed a lack of confidence in his brethren. If everyone were to require the same evidence, no one today would receive Jesus and believe in His resurrection. But it was the will of God that those who could not themselves see and hear the risen Savior should receive the report of the disciples. SH 80.1

God was not pleased with Thomas’s unbelief. When Jesus met with His disciples again, Thomas was with them, and when he saw Jesus, he believed. But he had declared that he would not be satisfied without having the evidence of feeling added to sight, and Jesus gave him the evidence he had wanted. Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus reproved him for his unbelief, saying, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28, 29. SH 80.2

The Downfall of Christ’s Slayer—As the news spread from city to city and from town to town, the Jewish leaders feared for their lives and concealed their hatred for the disciples. Their only hope was to spread their lying report. And those who wished this lie to be true accepted it. Pilate trembled as he heard that Christ had risen. He could not doubt the testimony given, and from that hour peace left him forever. For the sake of worldly honor, for fear of losing his authority and his life, he had condemned Jesus to die. He was now fully convinced that he was guilty not merely of the blood of an innocent man, but of the Son of God. Miserable to its close was the life of Pilate. Despair and anguish crushed every hopeful, joyful feeling. He refused to be comforted, and he died a most miserable death. SH 80.3

Forty Days With the Disciples—Jesus remained with His disciples forty days, causing them joy and gladness as He opened to them more fully the realities of the kingdom of God. He commissioned them to bear testimony to the things they had seen and heard concerning His sufferings, death, and resurrection. They were to tell that He had made a sacrifice for sin, and that all who wanted to could come to Him and find life. With faithful tenderness He told them that they would be persecuted and distressed, but they would find relief in recalling their experience and remembering the words He had spoken to them. He told them that He had overcome the temptations of Satan and had obtained the victory through trials and suffering. Satan could have no more power over Him, but he would bring his temptations to bear more directly on them and on all who would believe in His name. But they could overcome as He had overcome. Jesus endowed His disciples with power to work miracles, and He told them that although they would be persecuted by wicked men, from time to time He would send His angels to deliver them; their lives could not be taken until their mission was accomplished. Then they might be required to seal with their blood the testimonies they had borne. SH 81.1

His anxious followers gladly listened to His teachings, eagerly feasting on every word that came from His holy lips. Now they knew for certain that He was the Savior of the world. His words sank deep into their hearts, and they were sad that they must soon be separated from their heavenly Teacher and no longer hear His comforting, gracious words. But again their hearts were warmed with love and great joy, as Jesus told them that He would go and prepare places for them and come again and receive them, that they could always be with Him. He also promised to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide them into all truth. “And He lifted up His hands and blessed them.” Luke 24:50. SH 81.2