“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
He is risen. He is no longer in the grave. Christ has overcome sin and death.
Mary stood outside the tomb because that where they had laid him. And as she stood there, she wept. And as she wept she bent over to look at her Lord inside the tomb but he was not there. Two angels, dressed in white were sitting where Jesus’ body had been, one was at the foot and the other at the head. They weren’t standing guard — there was nothing there to protect. They were messengers waiting to tell the faithful the good news of the resurrection.
Imagine Mary’s surprise at seeing these two angels and not the body of Jesus. 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.” Now in this account of the resurrection, Jesus is standing behind Mary. She thinks he is the gardner and so she asks him the same question.
But Jesus says, “Mary.” And Mary says, “Teacher!” And apparently Mary then reaches out to grab hold and hug Jesus, but he says, “Do not hold on to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Rather, go to my brothers and tell them what you have seen and heard.” So Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news saying, “I have seen the Lord!”
Is there a better story in the world? Is there better news for us to hear on Resurrection Sunday? The day Jesus rose from the dead? He defeated death! He conquered sin! He overcame our shame and endured the cross. And now, he stands next to his faithful follower Mary saying her name and bringing her life.
Jesus says our name today. He speaks directly to us with a heart full of love and eyes full of promise. Jesus, the Son of God, loves each of us more than he loved his own life. He gave us the gift of salvation, the hope of today and the joy of tomorrow.
“O Lord God, it is so good to trust in you. The news that you rose from the dead is life to the world. Thank you for enduring the cross, overcoming death, and covering my sin. I love you Lord and praise your name. Come now, Holy Spirit, draw all people to yourself. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen