I’m going to be honest, I haven’t seen too many sunrises in my life. I’m not a huge what they call, “morning” person. Apparently they’re beautiful. Many people wake up just to see them I am told. You see my theory has always been, the sunset, is the exact same thing as the sunrise, just in reverse – so as long as I see one or the other, I’m good.
The Mary’s didn’t get up that Sunday morning to see the sunrise. They were headed to the tomb to make sure their friend had received everything necessary for a proper burial. In Jewish tradition, they had had to make sure he was buried before sundown on Friday, and hadn’t been allowed to come back on Saturday, because of the Sabbath. So Sunday morning, they rose and headed toward the tomb, expecting what everyone else would have been – to see Jesus’ body in the exact place they had left it. John says it was still dark when they left, but, well here, I’ll let Him tell you…..
John 20:1–9 (ESV) – Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away 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.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had 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.
Did you catch that? The parts of the story that make you KNOW that it’s real? John continues, even in this story, to refer to himself as “the other disciple” and “the disciple who Jesus loved.” Still not convinced? Neither were they, you know, when “the other disciple outran Peter and stopped at the entrance of the tomb.” Why would you include those kinds of details in an imaginary tale? You wouldn’t. Just like you wouldn’t include what happened next.
John 20:11–18 (ESV) – But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one 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.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” 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 Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for 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 that he had said these things to her.
Yeah, that’s right, a woman. Property. Someone who couldn’t vote, couldn’t own land, who when married belonged to her husband and when not, to her father. Someone who couldn’t testify in court or speak up in synagogue. THAT was the person to see Jesus alive, and to run to tell the others.
This story is just TOO GOOD to be true.
Except, IT IS!
Jesus’ life, death AND resurrection are some of the most prophesied events in all of human history. This entire week has gone exactly according to plan. And now, what had been “an end,” has become a BEGINNING. The end of God’s people having to let someone interred to God on their behalf. The curtain in the temple has been torn. God is no longer confined to the temple, but they (we) will become the very temple of God in the flesh. God’s people no longer must make sacrifices for their sins and be enslaved to the law. The blood of Jesus covers all and grace abounds in full.
But most important of all, death has died. It no longer has power, it need no longer be feared. Jesus has proven one and for all, that He IS the King. He does wear the crown. The coronation is back on, in fact it has happened. He has conquered the kingdom of darkness, and triumphed over every enemy. He has superseded sin, and rendered it impotent. Even in death, comes the promise now, of everlasting life.
I can hear the angels and saints in heaven as the victory celebration rages on;
“Wait, what? He’s alive?!?”
“I told you He was a King”
“How did you know?”
“Death ain’t got nothing on Him”