Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark.The last view we had of Mary Magdalene, she was at that same tomb – with a couple of Jesus’ followers – doing what they could to prepare His Body for burial before the setting of the sun prohibited their further presence in the tomb. With the setting of the sun, the Sabbath began when no contact with the dead was permitted. They had to leave and come back to finish their preparations when the sun rose on Sunday.
The time before that when we saw her she was on Golgotha at the foot of the cross – seeing her Savior tortured to death in the most horrible form of capital punishment ever conceived by human minds.
Sunday, her return to the tomb began with a darkness that covered Mary’s heart as much as physical darkness covered the world near dawn. There was a chill within her that bit far deeper than the chill of Jerusalem mornings. There was an emptiness that refused to be filled. Jesus had restored Mary’s very life when He lifted her from the depths of despair and told her what it means to be a true child of God — and now it seemed so impossible, so incredible — but there was no doubt about it - JESUS WAS DEAD.
Her arrival at the tomb brought no comfort for there Mary saw that the stone had been taken from the tomb. She was horrified at the very thought of who might have taken His Body and she raced to tell the disciples.
Then Peter and John – equally horrified by Mary’s news – followed her back to the tomb. John, who came to the tomb first, went in after Peter who arrived second went in first. John saw and believed - the first disciple to see and to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like Mary. John had been at the tomb as Jesus was brought there from the cross and had been at Golgotha.
Mary Magdalene and John made their journey as eye witnesses. Our journey is through the enlightenment of The Holy Spirt and THE HOLY BIBLE – but it is as much a journey we must make for ourselves as it was for them. It was on Good Friday that God showed His absolute, total Love for us when He personally bore everything the evil in this world could pile upon Him and gave His Life to pay the total penalty for our sins and alienation from God.
And now comes the trumpet blast of Easter – the Proclamation of the Ultimate Victory. JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD ! ! ! HE IS RISEN INDEED ! ! ! And because He rose, we too shall rise and live eternally with Him.
Howard G. Hageman points out that “The first thing Easter has to tell us is that the difference between life and death is something more than a tombstone. Because of Easter, in the deepest and truest sense of the word, the difference between life and death is Jesus Christ.” Easter first and foremost proclaims that Jesus brings us new life, abundant life, eternal life — and He brings it in the present tense. Whoever believes in Jesus, though he die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Jesus shall never die. His Resurrection guarantees it.
The Divine Life that has come down from heaven – propelled by Perfect Love – as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ – has risen from the grave to give us eternal Life and to invite us into His eternal Presence as God’s Grace carried Him to the cross for us and as He most powerfully proclaimed in front of the empty tomb as our victorious Lord and Savior.
We have come this glorious morning to celebrate the Sonrise - the Resurrection of The Son of God - and our own future resurrection as His eternal gift.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS – OUR RESURRECTION AND OUR LIFE. AMEN.
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD -- EASTER SUNDAY
April 1, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio