Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Resurrection, part 1 (John 20:1-18)

When Jesus uttered “It is finished!” things were thankfully not quite done. The cross without a resurrection would hardly be a solution. Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of His people, but a dead savior is not a solution to the curse of death. He had to rise victorious over death after sins had been covered in order for there to be any hope or future for creation.

In the resurrection of Jesus, though, we also find more. We see the foundation for faith. We see the end to sorrow and grief. We see victory over fear. We see the silencing of all doubt.

Belief (1-10)

After the Sabbath, on the first day of the new week, Mary heads out to the tomb where Jesus had been quickly buried. When she finds it disturbed and opened. She runs to inform the disciples. Peter and John rush to the tomb to see what has happened. Finding the empty tomb, John tells us that it was in that moment that he believed. This is a huge statement about our faith. Notice than John did not yet understand exactly what had happened. Much less did he understand why what had happened had happened. And yet he believed. All he needed to see was the empty tomb and the possible resurrection.

It is important for us today to grasp this aspect of faith. We need not understand completely. What we need is to trust completely.

Grief (11-18)

Mary had returned to the tomb as well. We can fill in the scant details and assume that she took longer than Peter and John and arrived after they had left. Alone at the tomb we see that she is overcome with grief. It is bad enough that the man she had followed and trusted was dead, now his body has been robbed or lost. In her grief, she encounters two angels at the tomb. They almost reprimand her for her grief. Why is she crying? Doesn’t she understand what has occurred?

When Jesus arrives, Mary does not recognize Him. She asks him, as she had the angels, where is the body of her Lord? All it takes is Jesus saying her name for her eyes to be opened and she goes from sorrow to joy. In a moment, she is transformed from despair to rapture. But Jesus commands her to stop clinging to Him. He is not yet about to leave. He needs her to go and tell the disciples what she has seen.

When the sorrow of despair is transformed in the joy of hope, we are given the mission to share it.

(Part 2)

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