This week, Christians celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus lived a perfect life,. He showed us how to live. He loved people, most of whom were unlovable by the world’s standards. He released those that were enslaved by demons, sickness, leprosy, blindness, and lives of defeat and shame. He exposed the godlessness among the religious elite. His mission and message ran counter to the traditions and rules men had set into place to try to reach God. They failed to realize that their self-made rules were not much different than the ancient “Tower of Babel”, where men were trying to reach God by their own efforts rather than allowing Him to bridge the gap sin had created.
Jesus’ life and actions were entirely different than organized religion. He showed us that God loved the unlovely. His selfless approach to life and endless capacity to care for and accept others without condition ran counter to everyone else’s ideas. Jesus always pointed toward the Father and the Kingdom of God. He never pointed to Himself. That drove the religious leaders crazy. They could not find fault in Him, even though they hated everything He stood for.
When the leadership succeeded in having Jesus killed, they thought they won. Thank God they were once again wrong. They thought they killed Jesus, but we know He gave His life willingly and, in the end, declared “It is finished!”
Now the sacrifice was complete and Emmanuel – God with us – was dead and buried, but that was only temporary. First, Mary Magdalene, then Peter and John would see that Jesus had risen. Peter was first in, as usual, and angels announced Jesus was not there! Then, Mary met Jesus in the garden, She was the first to confirm that He was, in fact, alive.
In the next few days, a band of defeated disciples would be transformed by the risen Messiah into His ambassadors to the world. Their transformation would carry though to today where that same Jesus is changing our lives and the lives of all who call upon His name.
God Bless You
The Empty Tomb
20 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. 2 So she 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!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 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.