12There she saw two angels, clothed in white, one at the head and one at the feet of where Jesus’ body had been lying. 13’ Woman,’ they said to her, ‘why are you crying?’ ‘They’ve taken away my master,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they’ve put him!’
Mary sees the two angels. Peter and John didn’t see angels when they were just there. Maybe it takes tears in your eyes to be a lens to see angels.
“Woman, why are you crying?”
They have taken away my master, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.
Mary calls Jesus her “master.” This same word is used for “Lord.” Mary’s honored leader. In another Gospel we are told that Mary had had seven demons attached to her and Jesus had delivered her from them. She was healed. Mary, who is a faithful follower of Jesus all the way from the foot of the cross to this empty tomb, now.
Is she crying for the loss of her Lord? Is she crying because she is thinking about the uncertainty his death will bring to her life? Is she crying because evil has won out over good? We don’t know.
But, now, it is time to turn around.
When was the last time you cried? Think about those circumstances and what Mary is feeling.
Thursday April 20
Then the other disciple, who had arrived first at the tomb, went into the tomb as well. He saw, and he believed. They did not yet know, you see, that the Bible had said he must rise again from the dead.
John, the other disciple follows Peter into the tomb. Then suddenly it dawns on him. It is ridiculous to think someone would go to all the trouble to unwrap Jesus and take his body. There is so much more to it than that.
And then the warm glow of faith starts coursing through his veins. Could it be? Could Jesus be who he said he was??
Then we hear every teacher’s dilemma when it comes to Jesus.
They did not yet know, you see, that the Bible had said he must rise again from the dead.
Right? Jesus only told them 100 times.
But it’s true, you can say things over and over again and give logical and potent reasons why Jesus is the Messiah, why he is the Lord, it takes choices coming from the heart, not just the head, to come to a living faith. The good news of Jesus is so clear, and at the same time, we are immersed in the mystery.
When was an important time in your life Jesus gave you new insight?
So Peter and the other disciple set off and went to the tomb. Both of them ran together. The other disciple ran faster than Peter, and got to the tomb first. He stooped down and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter came up, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the napkin that had been around his head, not lying with the other cloths, but folded up in a place by itself.
The running continues. When have we seen running before? The shepherds run to tell all the people that Jesus was born! The loving father runs to his son who had gone away, the Prodigal, and embraces him as he welcomes him home.
But, this running is excitement mixed with terror and confusion. What is happening??
We are told the younger disciple arrives first because he is faster. I don’t know. I know some pretty fast old guys…
Anyway, sure enough, the tomb is open and empty. And here’s what’s strange. There are linen burial cloths lying there. Someone has first unwrapped the body and laid the cloths out in the shape of the body.
Peter finally gets there out of breath, but in his usual boldness, nudges the other disciple aside and he goes into the tomb. And he discovers that the cloth that wraps Jesus’ head, isn’t with the others. It’s in a place by itself. In fact, it looks like the body wasn’t unwrapped at all. It looks like the body has simply disappeared neatly leaving the cloths behind. What is the world? Yes, what in the world. The new world.
Think of other cloths in the story of Jesus.
Where is he and what do you do now that it is the first day of the new creation?
The answer to the first question leads to the answer to the second…
(great insights by NT Wright)
So she ran off, and went to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They’ve taken the master out of the tomb!’ she said. ‘We don’t know where they’ve put him!’
Someone has taken him away!
She starts sprinting back to the city. She goes to Peter and the other disciple who was with her at the cross. The one who Jesus especially loved. The author of this book.
“They have taken him away!”
Who has taken Jesus away?
“They.” We don’t know exactly who “they” is, but it is ironic that “they” are still trying to take Jesus away. In my lifetime.
Communist dictators have tried to take Jesus away. Relativist professors on just about every university campus in America try to take him away. And then there are others. This very week, once again, Christians are slaughtered, worshiping on Palm Sunday, blowing them up in the name of Allah, ironically in the land where Jesus had escaped violence long ago. Egypt.
But, whether “they” are trying to amass power and hold in distain “the opiate of the masses,” or “they” are using irrational, frivolous and naiive teaching, barely holding their contempt, or “they” are filled with demonic evil in the name of their religion, this will not stand. No matter how hard “they” try. “They” will not take Jesus away!
The master is still the master. He is God and you don’t stop God.
A religion that advocates loving your neighbor, no matter who they are…loving your enemies and never seeking revenge…a religion that worships a God who cherishes all people with true equality…Hmmm
On the first day of the week, very early, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb.
Here we go again.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
(with insights by N.T. Wright)
In the beginning is chaos. The void. Then the Holy Spirit breaks in and brings light and life. Fast forward to the sixth day when humans are created. Except this time the ultimate human, breaks into creation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…
Who is this Word?
None other than Jesus.
…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The flesh speaks and brings light and life and Creation is complete. The sixth day and God saw all he had made and it was very good.
But then the flesh dies and chaos reigns again…And darkness descends upon creation as he is buried in a tomb beginning a long sabbath rest.
Now, in the middle of darkness, the first day of the week. The new week. The new creation. The eighth day, we can call it.
Or the first…
Mary Magdalene and the other women come to the tomb. We don’t know why exactly. Perhaps they will add more burial spices. Or maybe it is just a chance to weep and mourn and think about what could have been.
The tomb is open. What in the world does that mean? Mary stoops down and the chaos breeds more chaos.
What does the new creation mean to you?
“I thank God for all who made this Holy Week and Easter a tribute to our Lord, Jesus Christ. The thoughtfulness of using your gifts and generosity for preparation, cleaning, serving, assisting at worship, and being models of a joyful people is much appreciated. Have a blessed celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord!”
Easter Worship@ 8 and 10:30 a.m.
Breakfast 9 and on…
Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30 a.m
Easter is not a one and done day. The effects last forever…
We are not used to people coming back from the dead and then never dying again. It’s only happened once. But, once is enough…A message of hope