“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
Death could not hold him. The grave could not contain him. The defeat of evil and death was complete. Jesus rose from the tomb. The cross was no match for the perfect, sinless, Son of God. The blood that was spilt upon the Hill of Calvary was completely for my redemption and yours.
Today is Easter Sunday and aren’t we glad? I was tired of waiting, tired of hoping, tired of delaying the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead. He is no longer in the tomb but has come up out of the darkness and into the wonderful light of God’s love. Salvation is available for all who believe.
And don’t we need redemption? Yesterday my daughter played a country song for me in the car. I was skeptical. It is song of Morgan Wallen and is called ”Don’t Think Jesus.” I was like, oh no, another secular song butchered theologically and lessening the faith. But what I heard and discovered was a beautiful redemption story. The chorus goes like this but you really should listen to the whole song to get the gest:
“If I was him (Jesus) I’d say, “To hell with you, ain’t no helping you
Find someone else to give Heaven to I’m telling you
I’d shame me, I blame me
I’d make me pay for my mistakes”
Oh, but I don’t think Jesus does it that way.” (Morgan Wallen, “Don’t Think Jesus.”) https://open.spotify.com/track/1TUuhV75FeOF6UObRsABo2?si=y258wbHcQCe6VvyPrYo7Rw
Each verse tells about his experiences, his entry into sin, fame, fortune, and ”chasing the devil.” But at each turn, he’s hearing the voice of God saying – I don’t think Jesus would do it that way. In other words, Jesus is his mark of living a life for God.
The point is that the redemption story continues today. It happens and hits all of us. The love of God is available to all. As Acts 16.31 tells us, ”Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.”
So Mary goes to the tomb and finds it empty. She’s grieving, she too has been rescued by Jesus from her life of horrendous sin. And while she’s weeping beside the tomb Jesus appears but she thinks he’s the gardner. A conversation ensues until Jesus calls her name, ”Mary,” and she recognizes him as the Lord and says, ”Rabboni.” She runs to tell the disciples the good news saying, ”I have seen the Lord.”
Have you seen the Lord? Have you given him your heart? Have you fallen on your face seeking forgiveness? You have a God who returned to life, to rose from the grave. Who loves you even in your sin. And loves you too much to leave you that way. Come to Jesus this hour, surrender your heart. Find redemption in his hands.
“O Lord Jesus, you have risen! I am so grateful. My heart is so blessed. Thank you for defeating death so I might have life. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill your people, renew your land. Pour your blood out upon us that we might be your people and you might be our God. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen