Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-10; Luke 24: 1-12, John 20:1-9
It was a new day, new week, and a new normal for Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James. They were still processing what had just happened the previous week and still grieving over the loss of their friend. How could this have happened? Just one week ago, they watched as Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem with thunderous applause. The same city where King David had ruled the Kingdom of Israel welcomed the coming Messiah into its walls only to call for his execution just days later. Now they were going to grieve over this teacher once championed by the people as he lay dead behind a great stone.
All of the sudden, they felt the ground shake violently. Wondering how an earthquake of that magnitude would affect his tomb, they rushed to where Jesus laid only to find a man standing there. Not just any man, this man radiated with light and dressed in white. In addition to this strange man, the soldiers were asleep and that great stone was over to the side. You can’t help but wonder what was going through their heads. Who is this man? Who moved that stone? What exactly is going on?! They didn’t know whether to feel worry, anger, or rejoice but then, he spoke such great words of comfort that they weren’t expecting. He said, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matt. 28:5-6b). What did he say? Did he really just say that Jesus had risen and he who was once dead and buried is now alive? Not only alive but well enough to get up and walk?! The angel showed them the tomb and sure enough, what he said was true. Jesus was gone. Filled with feelings of joy, relief, excitement, and hope, these women became the first evangelists in history by running to tell the good news that Jesus has risen from the dead and is alive just as he said! Everything they just witnessed: the suffering, the pain, and the death were all undone and Jesus had returned.
There’s obviously more to the story of Sunday. Jesus didn’t just leave his resurrection as a great disappearing act and did appear to the disciples later that day. He continued to reveal himself to his followers, perform miraculous signs, teach on God’s love and the coming Holy Spirit, and even restored his friend Peter above his previous failure. Then, after forty days, he ascended into Heaven to be with the Father but this is far from the end of the story. That story still continues to this day and through the Holy Spirit, He invites you to be part of it. He invites you to be part of a life that is real, purposeful, and eternal. He invites you to follow Him. That’s what Sunday is all about. It’s not about death, guilt, or shame. It’s about having life and having it in abundance (Jhn. 10:10). On this Easter Sunday, choose to follow life. Choose to follow Jesus.
- What did you think Peter was thinking when he saw the empty tomb?
- Why do you think some of the disciples doubted Jesus had risen when they first heard the report?
- Looking over the week leading up to Easter, what sticks with you the most? How does that change how you view this holiday?