The Awakening never disappoints
John 20: 1-18 (NIVUK)
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped round Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’
‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ 14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’
16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’
She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’).
17 Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.
In a few short verses we have described for us the first Easter Sunday. It was a day that started with great sorrow, devotion, grief and turmoil. Then that moment of great excitement just like an awakening into another world. New possibilities are revealed through the truth of who Jesus is as the beloved disciple John believes. Then Mary is transformed talking to angels unaware that Jesus is just behind her. Only when he says ‘Mary’ does she recognise him and seek to embrace him. She finds herself entrusted to tell the good news that Jesus is alive. And at the end of the day a group of weary worn followers including Peter end up receiving a visit from the risen Christ and the chapter ends a week later with even a cynic like Thomas turned from disbelief to adoration and worship.
There you stand
Stone rolled away
Grave clothes neatly folded
Angels waiting to take you home
True to the end
You refuse to go
No flashy clothes
No kingly crown
Wearing borrowed clothes
Mistaken for the Gardener
Looking to find Mary
To tell us
We’re worth dying for
And that’s it Lord,
So that we might
Who you really are
When you call us