Easter Sunday, 4th April

John 20:1–9

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.

The accounts of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning was given by all four gospels though it varies in details. All the four gospels agreed on the essential of the event, that is Mary Magdalene and some women visited the tomb early on Sunday, or the first day of the week because according to the Jews the Sabbath was the last day of the Jewish week.

Mary Magdalene and the women with her came to the tomb so early on Sunday morning with a purpose. They wanted to give a proper anointment to the body with spices because Jesus’ body was hurriedly anointed and buried on the Friday before the Sabbath began at sundown.
When they arrived at the tomb, which was constructed in the Jewish tradition that it raised above the ground and the entrance was blocked by a large rolling stone cut for the purpose of sealing off the tomb after the body was buried, they found the rolling stone at the entrance had been taken away from the tomb. They were in great fear and ran away. The reaction of Mary Magdalene and the women are very normal. In the moment of confusion, the women without going inside the tomb came to only one conclusion that someone had stolen the body of Jesus. They arrived at this conclusion because it was logical to them. They forgot what Jesus had said to them about his passion, death and resurrection. This was because the idea of resurrection was beyond their horizon. They decided what had happened to Jesus’ body without trying to understand why it happened.

Amidst their fear, they went to Jesus’ disciples and told them what they saw. Peter and the other disciple, whom we believe is John, ran to the tomb to see themselves. When the two disciples reached the tomb, they did not stay outside the tomb but went into it. Once they were in the tomb, they found the winding sheet and the cloth that covered the head lying there. They asked themselves the question: if the body was stolen or taken away, why should the linen coverings have been removal and left behind?
Despite the two disciples’ sensible question, they still did not understand. What they believed was that Jesus’ body had not been stolen or taken away. Up to this moment, they still did not understand either the scriptures which had foretold Jesus’ resurrection or believed Jesus’ own prophecies of his resurrection.

Like Peter and John and also the women, though we have the benefit of the gospels, we still cannot believe the divine plan of God for mankind through Jesus Christ. We still cannot believe that God loves us so much that He died for us. We do not believe God loves us so much because logically we doubt is all this too good to be true. In contrary, we believe that God loves us only when we are perfect. This is our folly to reject God’s offer. So, today let us thank God once more for Easter and for all that God has done for us. Amen.