EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2022
A NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEK’S DEVOTIONS: Last week, we focused on the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross. Jesus died on that cross, and his body laid in a borrowed grave. But death could not contain him. The tomb is empty and Jesus is risen from the dead! This week we focus on first seven words Jesus speaks on this side of the resurrection.
John 20:1-14 NRSV
1Early 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. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
The battle is over and victory is won! Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead. Death has lost its sting!
This day, this event, this good news is what defines us as Christians.
May today be filled with this good news of great joy!
Last week, the devotions focused on the last words spoken by Jesus from the cross. This week, our focus will be on Jesus words after the victory has been won.
The first word of Christ after the Resurrection is spoken in a garden. Scripture begins with creation in the garden. Remember? Adam and Eve? The tree with the fruit they were not to touch? Isn’t that how we go into this problem in the first place?
Here in the garden on that Easter morning, Mary Magdalene is weeping.
We can relate, can’t we?
Why do you weep? What brings you to tears?
A Broken relationship
Uncertainty about what today will be
Worry about what tomorrow will bring
We are moved to tears, and tears tell a story.
There is always a reason why the tears flow.
Even Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus.
Here Jesus stands on this side of the empty tomb in the garden and asks, "Why are you weeping?”
Notice Jesus did not take away Mary’s tears, but he was there as an answer to her tears.
Isn’t that the same for you and me?
A quote I often share at funeral from St. Paul, “…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NRSV) Jesus offers hope.
In the book of Revelation we read these beautiful words:
"God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more." (Revelation 21:4 NRSV)
Mary did not recognize the Lord. Perhaps it was her tears.
Probably it was because she was not looking for Him.
Why do you weep?
Turn to God, who hears your prayers, and offers the promise of hope.
For Christ is Risen. Indeed!
Let us pray:
God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for he is alive and has become the Lord of life. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ, and help us to grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.