“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.” John 20:1
Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, along with Mary the mother of James and Salome, found an empty tomb. Can you imagine what was going through their minds? Shock? Dismay? A deepening sense of grief? Wasn’t crucifying Jesus enough for the Romans and the Jews? Jesus didn’t deserve to be beaten, mocked and killed like a criminal. Was taking his body one meant to further destroy Jesus’ legacy and put all of his followers in their place?
Early on the first day of the week, when Peter and James arrived at the tomb, they saw Jesus’ body wa s gone. John writes that the grave cloths were left behind, and the disciples “saw and believed.” But what was it that they believed? John said they didn’t yet understand what happened, and so they went back to their own homes.
It sounds to me like they gave up. And can you blame them? What were they supposed to think or believe when they saw the tomb empty? But early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene stayed at the tomb when the others left. And because she did, distress and weeping turned to joy as she was the first to encounter the risen Christ! Early on the first day of the week, she was charged by Christ to proclaim the amazing truth of his resurrection. And so she did! She told the disciples what she had seen and what Jesus had said.
In the evening of the first day of the week, Jesus confirmed Mary’s story by appearing to the disciples. He showed them his wounds. He gifted them with the Holy Spirit. He taught them about this new reality for all who believe in him—death was conquered. Life lived with God beyond this life ,was now reality. And if ever there was a moment that qualified as mind-blowing, it had to be this one for those disciples. Life from death! Life with Christ eternally! Forgiveness and mercy are now known and experienced as God’s default behaviors. Can you imagine being one of those disciples in that room at that moment?
As this Easter dawns, may you experience this day as the disciples did. May your mind be blown as you think on the incredible love that God shows for us through Christ’s resurrection. May you rejoice and declare the news of Jesus Christ and his power!
May you embrace the Easter truth that Clarence Hall wrote of so eloquently, “The resurrection of Jesus
changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence.
Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there. You can nail it to a cross, wrap it in winding sheets and shut it up in a tomb, but it will rise!”
Amen and Amen!