EVERYTHING CHANGED!

Image of empty tomb

Read: John 20:1-18

Reflect: A young man filled with great promise.  Lots of friends. Star of his basketball team. I can still remember the anguished wailing of his girlfriend. At the prime of life, in a second his life ended in a car accident. Sam was now laid out in a casket.  Everything changed.

it is finished

Everything changed for Mary Magdelene.  She witnessed the darkness of the last moments of the Savior hanging in agony. Humiliated, tortured, and executed, He breathed His last breath.  “It is finished.” Her anguished cries filled the air. Everything changed.

dead folks don’t do a lot for themselves

Now is the time to pay her respects and give her beloved Rabbi the funeral He deserves. Tom Lynch, writer and undertaker, wryly comments: “As a general rule, dead folks don’t do a lot for themselves.  They can only have things done TO them.” But she discovers the stone sealing the tomb is rolled away! One heartbreak after the other.  Will it never stop? Mary cries, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

none of them seemed to grasp jesus’ words

An odd duo races to the scene. John, the disciple who Jesus entrusted to care for His mother Mary.  Then there is Peter, the coward who denied ever knowing Jesus.  At the tomb the guys see the strips of linens the body had been wrapped in. Someone must have stolen the body! Ray Stedman comments, “One of the striking phenomena of the Gospels is the deafness of the disciples to the consistent revelations of Jesus concerning his resurrection. He had great difficulty convincing them that He was going to die in the first place. It was only as they saw the opposition closing in on Him that they realized His words were true. But even then, none of them seemed to grasp that every time He mentioned His death He also added that He would rise again on the third day.”

resurrection did not enter her mind

Mary Magdelene, overwhelmed with grief, peers into the tomb. An angel asks her why she is crying. She sobs: “Because they have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they have put him!” Resurrection has not entered her thinking, regardless of what Jesus taught.

Amidst her tears, Mary then hears the voice of the One Who she thought was the gardener.  He whispers her name, “Mary.” Everything changes.

nothing remains the same

Mary turns and cries, “Rabbi!”  She sees the risen Christ. The empty tomb is the monument which displays the victory over sin’s curse.  The final enemy has been conquered. Nothing remains the same.

acting like god is dead

So then, how do we choose to live? It’s easy to forget everything changed. “Martin Luther once spent three days in a black depression over something that had gone wrong. On the third day his wife came downstairs dressed in mourning clothes. ‘Who’s dead?’ he asked her. ‘God,’ she replied. Luther rebuked her, saying, ‘What do you mean, God is dead? God cannot die.’ ‘Well,’ she replied, ‘the way you’ve been acting I was sure He had!’ (as told by Ray Stedman)

are you still mourning at the tomb?

“Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!”  Is this how you choose to live each day with the Savior Who has risen?  Or, do you choose to be the one mourning at the tomb, all your dreams dashed with no power to face another hour? The good news of Easter is: everything has changed! The victorious risen Christ offers to share His life with you.  Your wailing can be turned to joy.  Everything changes with the risen Christ.

Want additional inspiration? Click for the testimony of Jerry Dugan

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