Easter Sunday Morning – Jesus is Alive!
It had been the worst few days of Mary Magdalene’s life. As she walked through the quiet city streets, the weekend’s scenes replayed over and over in her head. Every moment forever engraved in her memory.
“He’s gone. Jesus is gone.” The agonizing words pierced her very soul.
She had watched him die in agony. How could anyone treat a man with such cruelty? His blood was already spilling to the ground from the wounds on his back when the soldiers forced a crown made of thorns onto his head. Cold and hardened by their years of service to the Roman Caesar, it didn’t seem to bother them to nail his hands and feet to a wooden beam and drop it into the ground. When they gathered around the base of the cross to make fun of him, she wanted to destroy them all. If she had owned a sword, she probably would have at least tried.
She shook her head in an effort to get the images out of her mind.
“I thought he was the Messiah. Everything about Him matched the prophesies. How could I have been so wrong?” Tears started dripping down her face yet again. She would see Him no more. Sure, she believed in the resurrection in the last days, but all her hopes were crushed for the present.
Several of the women who followed Jesus had gathered together and talked for hours, but none of them could come up with a reasonable explanation for the events of Thursday night and Friday. They tried to comfort Mary, his mother, but there was no way to relieve her broken heart. At the very least, they could care for her son’s body for her.
So, this morning, before the sun rose, they headed to the gravesite. Their hearts so heavy with sorrow, their feet could hardly carry them forward.
Suddenly, a gasp came from one of the women. The stone in front of the tomb was already moved. The little group hurried forward, huddled closely together. “It’s empty!” someone exclaimed.
“What?!?” Mary’s heart began to race, and her feet did the same. On a dead run, she headed straight to Simon Peter and John. They would know what happened. She had to know. Why would someone move His body?
When she arrived at the house, she was gasping for breath. The words came out in haste and didn’t make sense to the disciples. Peter and John, however, didn’t wait to ask questions. They raced back to the cave where Joseph had tenderly laid the body of their dear friend and teacher just three days ago. Mary followed as best she could.
By the time she arrived back at the tomb, Peter’s face was drained of all color. He walked away in a daze, his head bowed down in grief, as if the weight of the world were sitting on his shoulders. John, however, had a peaceful, questioning look in his eyes, like he was pondering the implications of what he had seen. Neither said a word to Mary.
The women, who came to the tomb with Mary this morning, were nowhere to be seen. Left alone with her thoughts, Mary stood outside the tomb and began to weep. All the fear, anger, sorrow, and loneliness poured out of her in deep sobs. As she wilted to the ground, something caught her eye. Something white – brilliantly white – was in the tomb.
“Why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“They took away the body of my Lord.” She still called Him her Lord. That’s what she believed. She just couldn’t get it to reconcile with the facts of His death.
It didn’t seem to faze her that she was looking at angels. Her grief overwhelmed her senses. Turning away from the angels, she saw a man behind her. He asked the same question. “Why are you crying?”
“Why does no one seem to know?” she thought. She supposed the man to be the caretaker of the garden. “Someone has taken away the body of Jesus. Was it you? Please tell me where you took His body.” She desperately needed to care for Him one last time. She promised Mary. And she needed it for herself too.
The moment she heard it, her heart lurched. She knew that voice. Her eyes grew wide in started amazement. There in front of her stood Jesus himself. Her Lord was not dead. He was standing, breathing, and smiling at her. She flung herself into his arms.
Gently, He pushed her back and looked into her eyes. “Go to my brothers and tell them I’m returning to my Father and your Father. My God and your God.”
Suddenly her feet carried her away with a new energy and hope. For the third time she ran the distance to the disciples, but this time, she flew. Her burden lifted, she burst through the door with the most incredible news.
“I have seen the Lord.”
This is the good news of Easter Sunday morning.
Jesus is alive!
Your burden is lifted.
Your sin carried away at the cross.
Today, may your feet fly with new energy and hope. May you burst into the door for Easter Sunday dinner and proclaim with joy. “I have seen the Lord!”