“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 around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize 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 toward 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.” John 20. 11-18
This is the moment for which we have been waiting. Forty long days, not including Sundays, since the beginning of Lent, we’ve waited for the resurrection. The moment we have been anticipating, the awakening of the Son of God after his death upon the cross. This is the climax, the answer, the hope of the world.
And it all began with that Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, early that morning, on the first day of the week, and saw the stone had been rolled away. Mary, not knowing what happened, went to get Peter and John who ran to the tomb, seeing for themselves that indeed Jesus’ body was missing. Had he been stollen? Had the body been moved? They would all soon learn that he had risen from the grave and was alive again!
John and Peter returned to the disciples but Mary lingers. Why does she stay outside the tomb crying? Jesus could have appeared first to his disciples but he doesn’t, he approaches Mary in his resurrected state and says, “Woman, why are you crying.” She of course thinks he is the garden and tells how she doesn’t know where the body has been taken. It’s not until he speaks her name, “Mary” — that she recognizes that it is the Lord. “Rabbi!” she exclaims! Then Jesus gives her instructions not to “hold on to him” and to go and tell “my brothers” the good news.
Imagine the joy! Imagine the relief! Imagine the overwhelming sense of hope and excitement! Jesus has risen from the grave. He is no longer dead but alive. He conquered the death. He overcame sin. He defeated his enemies. He is a live forever more!
The excitement Mary felt can be ours this very day. The hope of the resurrection is for all people. Every race, every creed, every person of every age is welcome to the throne of grace. To receive the sacrifice of the Savior upon the cross into their hearts and within their souls. The resurrection wasn’t just for the first century believers, it is for all of us today.
It’s the greatest story ever told. Better than any individual win, reward or reception. The resurrection of Jesus speaks hope to everyone who hears it.
So now that you’ve heard it, won’t you receive it? Let the joy of the sacrifice of Jesus fill your heart and allow him to live in you both today and for eternity.
“O Lord God, you are risen! I proclaim your goodness! I shout your praises! I exclaim your grace to a world desperately in need of redemption. Come now, Holy Spirit, sweep broadly across this land! Restore your people! Renew your church. Help us find safety, security and salvation in your arms. Thank you for enduring the cross and for rising again. For you are so good and your love endures forever.” Amen