Mary Magdalene ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and breathlessly exclaimed, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter and the other disciple ran toward the tomb, and stooping to look in, they saw the linen cloths lying there, undisturbed, as if the body had escaped without the linen bands being unwound.
What kind of fear and dismay must have gripped the disciples as they peered into this empty grave? How their stomachs must have knotted with grief and loss. Was this just a horrible trick following a cruel death meant to cut them to the quick once more? Peter and the other disciple, in their numb bewilderment, just walked away. Mary stood weeping, frozen in her pain.
From the terrible depths of their loss, a voice speaks: “…why are you weeping? …do not be afraid. Peace be with you. …put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. …go and tell. …I am with you always, to the close of the age. …follow me.”
Joy and wonder swelled and flooded into the hearts of the disciples like a tidal wave. Peace, hope and new life blossomed like flowers in spring. The dead is given new life for all eternity. The broken is repaired – no – it is made brand new! The Lord is alive! Our hope is not in vain! Jesus Christ is victorious! Welcome, happy morning! The strife is over, the battle done! He is risen, he is risen, tell it out with joyful voice! Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The writer of the Gospel of John says of his writing, “These words are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” I encourage you, in this season, to stand with the disciples at the foot of the cross and at the door to the empty tomb. Walk through Holy Week. Then, on Easter Sunday, share in the wonder of the resurrection and give thanks to the risen Lord Jesus for the hope of life he gives.
Fr. John Hall