Good morning. Yesterday we looked at the crucifixion of Jesus, so today let's look at the resurrection of Jesus. "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance." (John 20:1) Did you notice when this took place? Yes, on the first day of the week (this is why we worship on Sunday), but also while it was still dark. John is not just wanting us to know the time of day, he is keeping with his theme of light verses darkness. The disciples are still "in the dark." Mary Magdalene (Magdalene is not her last name by the way, but indicates where she is from) "came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" (John 20:2) This is interesting and, in a way, hilarious. Apparently we are to understand that the "other disciple" is faster than Peter because "the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first." (John 20:4) Again, this disciple is identified as "the one Jesus loved." Does anyone else have trouble with this other than me? Again, tradition has it that John was the "disciple whom Jesus loved." What is wrong with that? Well, everything if John himself wrote this gospel. A little conceited aren't you John?
When Peter and the other disciple looked in the tomb they discovered "strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen." (John 20:6) Supposedly, there was a custom that when one ate a meal at someone's home they would fold the napkin a certain way if the food and hospitality was good. The folded napkin then said: "I will be back." Many have assumed that the folded cloth was Jesus' way of saying that he would be back.
"Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying." (John 20:10-11) This is interesting in that we know that Peter's home was in Capernaum, which would have been a great distance away. Mary remained at the tomb. Mary is upset because she fears that someone has taken her lord away. Notice she said "They have taken my Lord away." (John 20:13) Regardless of the unfair stigma attached to Mary through the years, she continued to show affection for Christ. The men all left, but she remained.
To say that the scene in which Jesus appears to Mary is interesting would be an understatement. I'm not sure words can best describe this scene. Today, we shy away from any thought of intimacy between Jesus and Mary. I'm not suggesting in any way shape or form that there was anything sexual going on. *Please know that I am not even hinting at this. But, this is still an intimate moment. Try to envision this scene. Mary is standing there crying. Jesus is there, but she doesn't realize it is him, until "Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'" (John 20:16) I don't know what Jesus' voice sounded like. But, there are times when your name is spoken that it is spoken in such a way words can not possibly describe how you feel. I believe this is how Mary heard her name being spoken. She knew who he was when he called her name.
Well, Mary is told to go and tell the disciples the news that the Lord alive. I will end today's lesson here, because there will be much to say about what happens next. Please join me tomorrow as we continue our work together. -Pastor Rick