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 20:11-16 NRSV
… 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? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
We continue with the first seven words spoken by Jesus now raised from the dead.
Here in the garden, Mary Magdalene is moved by grief.
She is panicked stricken, scared, and in deep sorrow.
Not only is her Savior and Lord been killed, but now the body is nowhere to be found.
This one in the garden, whom she assumes is the gardener asks her why she is weeping, and for whom she is looking. She asks, even begs for some help, some answers.
She is even willing to take the body if the gardener will only tell her where it might be.
How would she do that? Would she even be able to carry that load?
But it only takes one word - just ONE word – to stop her in her tracks, to stop the flow of tears, to stop her questions.
In her 2014 Easter greeting to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton shared these words:
My favorite story in scripture is the account in John’s Gospel of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb. It was the first Easter, but Mary did not know that. She expected death. In her profound grief she couldn’t recognize Jesus.
It was only when Jesus called her by name that she was able to see the Risen Lord.
Jesus saw Mary.
Jesus knew Mary.
Jesus spoke, “Mary.”
It was being completely seen, utterly known, and lovingly called that opened Mary Magdalene to the hope of the resurrection and into a deeper relationship with Christ. Because she was seen, she could see.
This is what I call Easter vision. We have been seen, known and called by God through the crucified and risen Savior and having a receive the Spirit to baptism we can all now see. We can see Christ and we can see Christ in our neighbor.
God has called YOU by name. Listen!
For Christ is Risen. Indeed!
Let us pray:
O God, you gave your only Son to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and by his glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of death. Make us die every day to sin, that we may live with him forever in the joy of the resurrection, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.