Gospel: John 20. 1- 18
Easter festival is very special for the church, it is a season of great Joy. The sadness, pain and agony after the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ is now replaced with wonder, amazement and joy.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the beginning point of the Church and that is the reason we find the resurrection event is recorded by all the four gospels. There are differences in the way the event is narrated but there are similarities as well. All of them say that it was Mary Magdalene who went to the tomb on the first day of the week while it is still dark.
Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb of Jesus to discover that the stone which sealed the tomb has been rolled away and the tomb empty. She runs to Peter and John and inform them and they come to see what has happened. Mary Magdalene also returns to the tomb and she was the first person to meet the Risen Christ. She is now instructed by Jesus to go and inform the disciples about this.
What does Easter mean to us today?
We can draw three affirmations from the four Gospel narrations of the resurrection.
Firstly, ‘He is not here’, secondly ‘He is going ahead of you and finally ‘Tell others’.
He is not here:
Mary went looking for Jesus where he was buried. It was a tomb where they left him as a lifeless body. Defeated, disfigured and destroyed. The tomb could be any place where we keep a God who is lifeless. Like a corpse wrapped up. People attempt to wrap up God with traditions, with theologies, with preachers and their preaching, with notions and assumptions about God. God is wrapped up to be preserved as a dead body is preserved. Jesus need not be and cannot be preserved. The wrapped up linen cloths were lying there and Jesus was not there. Nothing could contain Jesus. He is alive.
He is going ahead of you:
In Matthew’s gospel, the angel from heaven comes and sits on the rolled stone and meets Mary and others and tells them where they will be able to meet Jesus. Jesus is risen and he is going ahead of you. He is going to Galilee. If you want to see him you will have to go to Galilee. Galilee is the place where Mary Magdalene and all other disciples come from and Galilee is their home, the place where they work and the place where they live. People usually travel and come to Jerusalem to see God and to be seen by God and now the risen Jesus Christ is going to Galilee not to sit in a temple but to where people live and work, to see the people and to be experienced by people.
The empty tomb is a source of fear and anguish. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus meets the women and greets them and tells them not to be afraid. They were so amazed to see Jesus. They expected Jesus to be a corpse and here he is fully alive and real, meeting them face to face. He gives them a task to go and tell the other disciples that Jesus is alive and that he is going to Galilee ahead of them. All the gospels tells us that the news of the resurrection was shared with others spreading hope and joy.