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John 20:1-18, Resurrection

Sunday, April 1

An Urgent Mission

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

an urgent mission

With love, tenderness, and respect, Jesus’ followers had placed his body in a tomb and had wrapped his body with spices in linens to preserve his body and honor him as their king. What a terrible shock it must have been for his followers – Mary, Peter, John – to discover that his body had been removed from the tomb!

If you have ever lost – as in could not find – a person, or even a pet, then you will have some idea of how devastating it can be not to know what has happened to the one you loved. Without the body, there is no closure, and healing from grief is drawn out – there is no end when the loss is unknown.

As if they hadn’t been through enough, the disciples now had to face this final insult. How would they move on? But then, a glimmer of hope – witnesses (angels) who might know what happened. And then the gardener – surely he would know what happened. And then the greatest surprise ever to occur on this earth – the gardener was Jesus himself!

What a whirlwind of emotions Mary must have felt! From the lowest low to the highest high in an instant! But there was no time to linger – Jesus had work for Mary and the disciples. Mary returned immediately to share the good news. He is risen!

There is an immediacy, anticipation, and excitement about this event. It seems there is no time to revel in the miracle; there is work to be done and it is pressing. No time to waste. Mary is already sent – the disciples soon will be.

Sometimes I think many of us have become too complacent against our zeal for God’s work. We have lost our sense of urgency. Maybe this Easter we can revel in the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection – for a moment. And then let’s get to work! Whether the work is small – like Mary’s reporting what she saw, or big – like the disciples’ invitation to go into the world and do God’s work, the urgency and excitement we bring can effect change in the world.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.