The Festival of the Resurrection/Easter Sunday
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” 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.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:11-18)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Exodus 15:1–11; Psalm 118; 1 Corinthians 5:6–8; John 20:1–18
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2kQgL1e
We dare not criticize Mary for sitting at the tomb weeping, unable to recognize Jesus. She thought he was the gardener! And no wonder! No one rises from death! It is not expected, nor can we comprehend it. Even Lazarus was restored to life—not resurrected. Lazarus would die again, a natural, earthly death. Jesus, once raised, would live forever. It is still hard to believe!
Martin Luther wrote,
“This article (the resurrection) has suffered and still suffers the most opposition and is most difficult to believe…The reason for this is that no article so contradicts experience as this one does. For our eyes see that all the world is swept away by death and dies. Emperors and kings, high and low, young and old, and in a word, all the children of men, one after the other, are laid in the grave and buried…In a word, if you consult reason and judge according to external appearance and experience, faith fails, and man lets this article (resurrection) go…Therefore it is necessary for every Christian to have before him the testimony of Holy Scripture concerning the resurrection of the dead and then also the resurrection of the Lord Christ, proved and attested by certain revelation; that he must rest firmly on these and abandon outward appearance and the experience of reason.”
Thankfully, Mary abandoned outward appearance and the experience of reason, and when called by name, she knew Jesus. And not only knew him, but went to the others to share with them the good news that Jesus, who was dead, is alive!
It is now for us to abandon reason, believe the testimony of Holy Scripture, and to go, telling others the good news that Jesus Christ is risen; he is risen, indeed!
Blessings to you as we begin seven weeks of Easter! Thank you for the opportunity to walk with you this Lenten season, sharing deeply in the Word of God as we have prepared for the Paschal Feast! May God strengthen you and keep you in his grace and mercy! Amen.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.