God Time for April 17-21
Monday April 17
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.
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?
Tuesday April 18
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
Wednesday April 19
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.
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?
Friday April 21
Then the disciples returned to their homes.
Why not? There is nothing left to do at the tomb. They leave it as a powerful sign of the truth of the resurrection. This is the tomb of a prominent family of Jerusalem. It’s not hidden. Others will be stooping down to see. There is no denying it. Jesus was buried on Friday. But on Sunday, Jesus is not here…He is risen!
So, what do we do with this news today? The same as Peter and John. We go home. It is the first day of the new creation. Jesus isn’t in the tomb any longer. If we are open to him, he is in us. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us? Well, now, The Word continues to take on flesh, our flesh, and we are the way Jesus dwells among all people.
We are Easter. We are those who bring healing in the name of Jesus. We are those who proclaim deliverance from evil, in the name of Jesus. We are those who bring the joy of Easter and shine the light of the risen Lord into the lives of all those around us! The Word still becomes flesh!!
Welcome to the empty tomb. Welcome to the first day of your new creation. Jesus invites you to know him and be filled with his Spirit. After you return to your home, what then?
What could be different about Easter this time?