Easter Sunday “He is not here, he is risen!”
Scripture: John 20:1-18
20 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— 9 for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.
11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
Let’s play out this scene a little bit. Early on the first day of the week, the first day of the New Creation, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. Do you remember what happened on the first day of creation in Genesis? Darkness covered the deep waters and God said, “Let there be light.” Here the Light of the world is ushering in a new creation on the first day! Death has been defeated! Mary saw that the stone was rolled away and the body of Jesus gone. So she went and got Peter and John, two of the disciple leaders and told them someone took Jesus’ body out of the tomb. So the men ran to the tomb. John was faster than Peter (Why did John put that information in the Scriptures? A playful dig at Peter?) John looked into the tomb; Peter walked right in. The clothes were there but no body. It says John believed right then. Then both men went home! Apparently Mary stayed or came back to look into the tomb. When she did, she saw two angels (remember there are always two witnesses to verify?) who asked her why she was crying. (At this point Mary still thought the body had been moved or stolen. As for John and Peter, we don’t know what they were doing at home.) She told the angels that someone had taken Jesus’ body and she wondered where it was. Can you imagine the next few moments? She turned and a man asked her the same question as to why she was crying and who she was looking for. Her answer was the same as her answer to the angels. Then Jesus simply said her name, “Mary.” She instantly recognized her risen Lord! Notice what Jesus said. Go find my brothers and tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Jesus immediately identifies the brothers with himself and with his God. Our Brother has opened the way to God the Father. The Temple curtain is torn and the way to the Father has been opened to all by our High Priest, Jesus. Mary went to the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Mary’s mission is our mission. “He is risen! He is risen, indeed!”
Music: “Messiah Part III”
“I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” Sylvia McNair St. Martin in the Field Orchestra
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg7aXEvCeXY Sylvia McNair is a Wheaton College grad and follower of Jesus Christ. It shows in her singing! The story goes that Robert Shaw chose her for his recording of the Messiah because he wanted someone “who believed what they sang.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, the moment we have longed for has come; the night of our desires is here. What greater occupation could there be than for us to proclaim the power of your Resurrection! This was the night when you shattered the gates of hell, and you took up the victory banner of heaven This was the night when you set us among the stars. When your mother Mary gave birth to you she was overwhelmed with joy at your power. The blood which flowed from your side has washed away our sins. Your body rising from the tomb has promised us eternal life. Eternal are the blessings which in your love you have poured upon us. ―from the Gelasian Sacramentary.
Friends, thank you for journeying with us through the season of Lent 2019. This marks the tenth Lenten Devotional I’ve written and I am more in awe of our Lord each year. He truly speaks through his word in transforming our lives. Watch for the next Advent Devotional beginning December 1, 2019. A huge thank you to my oldest son, Jonathan, for putting all of this together. He has made all of this possible and I’m deeply grateful to him for his time and effort in helping make this resource available. I am grateful it has gone to some thirty states and countries all over the world: Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Nigeria, UK, France, Jamaica, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, and even Texas (!) to name a few. Feel free to pass the link along! If you have any questions use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blessings on you all.
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The Worshiping Church, Hope Publishing, 1990
The Worship Sourcebook, CRC Publications, Faith Alive, & Baker Books, 2004
Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers, William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1983
The Oxford Book of Prayer, ed. George Appleton, Oxford University Press, 1985
The Book of Common Prayer, Seabury Press, 1928
Prayers for Easter, Ideals Publications, Nashville
The Book of Uncommon Prayer, Word Publishing