Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter sunrise

Easter Sunrise
John 20:1-18
Bror Erickson

[20:1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. [2] So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." [3] So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. [4] Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. [5] And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. [6] Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, [7] and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. [8] Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; [9] for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. [10] Then the disciples went back to their homes.
[11] But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. [12] And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one 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] Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" 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 Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). [17] Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' " [18] Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:1-18 (ESV)

I love this account of the resurrection. John the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved and Peter Running to the tomb. One wonders what prompted them to run. I mean Mary has told them that the stone had been rolled away. She believed that “they” had taken the Lord away. One wonders who “they” were. Who did Mary mean by “they?” I sometimes wonder in this account. Were the disciples running out of a sense of outrage? Or did it click, this whole bit about the resurrection that Christ had been telling them about for so long.
The account has a bit of comedy to it. I mean John wastes no time telling us he is the disciple whom Jesus loved. He is the one who made it to the tomb first. He doesn’t go in. He sees the cloths from the outside, but he doesn’t go in. He stays outside. He waits for Peter. Peter doesn’t stop. He runs in and sees the cloths and the face cloth folded separately. Everything hinges on the cloths. The cloths are still there! And they are folded. Mary doesn’t seem to get it. Peter and John do. The text says, and they believed, and then Curiously, because as of yet they did not understand the scripture that He must rise from the dead.
So what did they believe? They believed he had risen from the dead. If this had been an act of desecration by their enemies, the cloths would not be there. And they definitely would not be folded up nice and neat. But the disciples saw the cloths folded. They understood that he had been resurrected. They believed. They may as of yet not understood what this had to do with scripture, but they understood that what Jesus had told them about rising on the third day was true. So they returned home knowing that Jesus would find them there.
Everything hinges on the resurrection. The whole of the Christian faith depends on the resurrection. All that we believe about the veracity of the Bible hinges on the resurrection. The disciples didn’t need to understand all of scripture. They saw and they believed. Now they would go and read scripture and understand. The key to it all is Jesus Christ, his death and his resurrection. They would go and tell others that He had risen. Others would believe just as the disciples even before they learned fully. But that this man rose from the dead means that we will rise from the dead. That this man rose from the dead, means he is who he says he is. And he does what he says he does. He is God, and he forgives your sins, on account of his death, so that you don’t have to die, but can have eternal life.
Now the Peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.

No comments: