As I have been reflecting over the events of that first Easter Sunday and while it is a day of joyous celebration for us, the Scriptures remind us that the first Easter Day did not begin with the same joyous celebrations. Those came later!
I wonder how Mary Magdalene felt that morning as she went to Jesus’ tomb. She must have walked with such sorrow in her heart, an ache in her soul after seeing Jesus die on the cross. Then the shock and confusion at seeing the stone at the entrance of the tomb rolled away! Who could have done that?
It seems to me that Mary’s first Easter began with cruel bewilderment added to grief beyond words!
‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him’!!!
Interestingly, Mary’s reaction was to run to the man who had denied Jesus (Peter) and to John to present them with a very confusing situation! They came and “saw for themselves” that the tomb was indeed empty; at this point, they too, “saw and believed”; what Jesus had been saying for the last three years had now been fulfilled – John 20:9.
However, it was still early and no one else was around. Interestingly Mary stayed at the tomb whilst Peter and John returned home (John 20:10), then she looked inside the tomb, and spoke with the angels! Yet still, she believed Jesus was dead. It’s only when she turned around, away from the place of death that she saw Jesus. Unimaginable delight and joy must have flooded her heart and mind as she saw her Lord and heard Him speak her name.
However deep our sorrow, when we turn our gaze away from the source of it and towards Jesus, we will always find hope, joy, peace and life.
Jesus calls each of us individually by name and we are filled with joy when we respond to that call when we understand that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is alive!
Jesus gives life to all who respond to and receive Him. Not just life, but Resurrection life that is for today and for all eternity. The same power that restored Jesus to life is at work in us, changing us from the inside out, and encouraging us to share that joy with others.
And I also believe that true Easter joy is something we are invited to discover in the midst of every life situation we find ourselves in today. As the followers of Jesus experienced an emotional rollercoaster, Jesus came and spoke ‘Peace’ into the situation. He continues today to do the same for your situation too.
‘Because He lives, I can certainly face tomorrow’!!……