When Jesus’ disciples went to his burial place, they found an empty tomb. Through the message the angel gave to them at the tomb, and through Jesus’ appearances to various disciples, God revealed that Christ was risen. Two Scripture stories played an especially significant role in the faith of the early Christians: the account of Thomas demanding proof that it was Jesus who had appeared to them and the story of Paul’s transformation from persecutor to apostle through an encounter with the risen Jesus.
The New Testament makes it clear that new life in Christ is based on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. It is the risen Jesus who is Lord, and when Christians are baptized, they enter into the experience of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Resurrection of Jesus was a resurrection into divine life. This is different from a renewal of human life as had been experienced by Lazarus when Jesus brought him back from the dead. The fact that a number of Jesus’ closest disciples had difficulty recognizing him demonstrates that Jesus’ Resurrection was more than just a return to life; it was an entry into the full glory of divine life.