Our scripture today is John 20:1-18.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “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.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Resurrection is a word we don’t use a lot in everyday conversation. The dictionary tells us it means “the rising of Christ from the dead or the rising again to life of all the human dead before the final judgment” (Merriam-Webster.com). That’s a weighty definition and an even heavier concept for us.
Yet Jesus told us exactly what it meant and how it would happen. He told us about His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22) and ours (John 6:40). The disciples were often confused by these teachings and we still find it difficult to understand.
The beauty of Christ’s promise to us is that we don’t need to have a complete understanding; only to believe in Him and His never-ending love for us. Sometimes our overwhelming desire to know gets in the way of our faith. Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-4). As long as we put our faith in Him, He will return for us. Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Holy Lord, on this the day of Resurrection, we rejoice with all creation at Your victory over death. May we love each other as You first loved us, and go in Your name to make disciples of all the world. Amen.