Sunday, April 16, 2017
John 20:11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Mary went to the tomb out of great sadness. Jesus, the man who had taught her so much was now dead. When she arrived at the tomb she discovered it was open and Jesus’ body was missing. This compounded her pain and she began to weep, the tears clouding her vision. One wonders whether her tears were accompanied by the deep sobs that often come from within our soul when we are in great pain. Bearing all of that anguish she looked into the tomb and found two angels who asked her why she was weeping. Her response explains the deep grief, for she believes that Jesus’ body has been stolen.
Stepping out of the tomb Mary bumps into a man whom she assumes to be the gardener. Vision still blurred by tears, she doesn’t recognize who he is until he speaks her name, “Mary!” In that moment her weeping is turned into joy for she realizes that this is Jesus, her Teacher. If he is speaking with her, then he is alive. The tears of pain were most likely replaced with tears of joy. Mary may have continued weeping but, following Jesus’ instructions she runs to tell the disciples that Jesus is alive!
We may be entering into this Easter Sunday as one who is weeping. Life itself has overwhelmed with daily struggles and difficulties. It feels as if the Savior is distant and unconcerned with the troubles that we are facing. Therefore we come with weeping and filled with grief. It feels as if Jesus is dead.
While we may begin today in this way, the reality of the resurrection changes everything. It radically transformed Mary’s life and resurrection power stands to transform us as well. We run to the empty tomb with all of our pain and frustration. Our vision is blurred by the tears, induced by the issues that we face. We can’t see Jesus through the struggles but we are still to run to the place where we might meet him. Jesus is right there, in the midst of the difficulties of life, revealing to us the power of his resurrection.
Today is a day of great hope and peace. We may begin the day with tears of sadness, but they can be traded for tears of joy. We weep when we discover the incredible joy to be found in knowing the risen Lord who will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Our weeping is turned into rejoicing when we are confronted with the risen Lord. He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Lord, thank you for the joy of Easter morning. Amen.