April 23, 2000

John 20:1-18

On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus's favorite disciple and said, "They have taken the Lord form the tomb! We don't know where they have put him."

Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. They ran side by side,until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first. He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in.

When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth. He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus' face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself. The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed. At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life. So the tow of them went back to the other disciples.

Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping, when she stopped down and saw two angels inside. They were dressed in white and were sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was at the head and the other was at the foot. The angels asked Mary, "Why are you crying?"

She answered, "They have taken away my Lord's body! I don't know where they have put him."

As soon as Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know who he was. Jesus asked her, "Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?"

She though he was the gardener and said, "Sir, if you have taken his body away, please tell me, so I can go and get him."

Then Jesus said to her, "Mary!"

She turned and said to him, "Rabboni." The Aramaic word "Rabboni" means "Teacher."

Jesus told her, "Don't hold on to me! I have not yet gone to the Father. But tell my disciples that I am going to the one who is my Father and my God, as well as your Father and your God." Mary Magdalene then went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. She also told them what he had said to her. [CEV]


1. This resurrection business is still quite mysterious and surprising. After nearly 2000 repetitions of the story we are still taken aback by the struggle folks have to come to recognize, much less live out of, the resurrection.

Mary is only surprised she can't find the body she expects. Even in an empty tomb Peter and another disciple didn't know about the resurrectional scriptures. Mary doesn't even recognize Jesus standing there - it is like she saw someone out of context and couldn't and wouldn't acknowledge who they were. Jesus works through the intermediary of Mary Magdalene rather than speak directly to the remaining 11 disciples.

2. If you think you understand resurrection and the way it comes to individuals and institutions, you probably don't. It continues to be mysterious. We can finally adjust to it after-the-fact, but, in process, it is very hard to recognize.

3. An Easter question? What old reality (body) are you still looking for? What success model are you living out of?

May you be in surprise and not in denial at resurrection in your life.

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