As we meet this Easter morning we also move into a new theme for Easter. Terms of Resurrection is our overall theme and here are some words about what that could mean as we finish our time in John’s gospel and head into the Acts of the Apostles.
For us, as Christians, Easter is when everything changed. Easter is an event in the life of God and the world after which nothing was the same again. Nothing could be. In Jesus’ rising, death was unseated as the end of existence and the owner of the last word. As we have noted over the past few weeks, John’s gospel tells of the resurrection slightly differently than the other synoptic gospels. The only woman who comes to the tomb before dawn is Mary Magdalene.
Her visit to the tomb is only the second time that John mentions this Mary. We hear of her at the foot of the cross, but nothing before that, at least in John. It is Mary’s actions following her experiences at the tomb that gains Mary Magdalene the title of the Apostles Apostle. In all of the gospels she is present and at times is the one who testifies that Jesus has risen. This declaration in John that Mary makes saying Jesus has been taken from the tomb leads to the race between Peter and the other disciple. Even though we are told that these disciples believed from what they saw, the linen wrappings rolled up, they still did not understand until sometime later.
Mary returns to the garden where the tomb is and remains outside it weeping. It is here that she sees the angels and then Jesus. Have you ever not recognised someone you know really well because you were not expecting to see them? I think this may be what happened here.
But then Jesus calls Mary by name. Jesus knows her, Jesus appears to her and we get the declaration from Mary – I have seen the Lord!