John 20:1-16 (The Message)
Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.” Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home. But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?” “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him. Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Jesus said, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
If you had been standing in the Jerusalem cemetery on Easter morning, you would have seen an odd sight. In a place where most people saunter quietly, on this morning folks were dashing about with perplexed looks on their faces. A woman raced down the road back to Jerusalem. Then two young men come sprinting down the same path to a tomb that stood strangely open. One person standing in the garden that morning saw all these things. Christ Jesus had stepped out of his tomb. His quiet stroll through the garden to tell Mary the news of his resurrection is the most amazing garden walk ever taken. Christ’s meeting with Mary turned her world upside down.
It upends our world too, He knows us by name too. After all, this wasn’t just Christ’s personality or his spirit that was raised on Easter morning. And it wasn’t just hopes and aspirations. Christ rose bodily from the grave. Christ had defeated the powers of evil, and death lost its grip on him. This is the good news of Jesus. Mary ran forth from the cemetery again, but this time not with news of a tampered grave. She ran with glad tidings: “I have seen the Lord!” And Jesus’ disciples have been running ever since to tell everyone that Christ Jesus is risen — he is risen indeed!
Lord, with Mary we have a message to tell. Our walk with Christ has assured us that he is risen. Fill us to witness boldly for you in our conversations with others. In your name, Amen.