Easter Day

by Crossings

I Have Seen the Lord
John 20:1-18
Easter Day
analysis by Robin Morgan

1Early 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. 2So 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.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together; but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.


Step 1: Initial Diagnosis – Running Away
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Mary Magdalene ran from the tomb to Peter and the other disciples. She gave no thought to Jesus’ words of comfort about the future — “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” (Jn.14:16) or “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (Jn.14:18). She just ran.

Step 2: Advanced Diagnosis – Unbelief in Action
Her agitation is understandable. The One who had healed her and who she thought was going to save Israel was dead, had died a criminal’s death. But her frantic behavior expresses a deeper issue – unbelief. The events of the last few days had left her beyond frazzled; she was reacting according to knee-jerk human norms – if a dead person isn’t where he was originally laid, somebody must have carried him away.

Step 3: Final Diagnosis – Oneness Denied
Jesus’ amazing words in Jn.17:21 “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” will not be Mary’s as she runs away from the tomb. God’s judgment on her unbelief is that this oneness Jesus speaks of will not be hers.


Step 4: Initial Prognosis – Woman, Why are You Weeping?
But what had been happening the last few days was not about human norms (knee jerk or otherwise). What had been going on was God’s answer to the destruction and death so tightly woven into the fabric of human life. Our first glimpse that something different is happening comes from the mouths of the angels, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Yes, Jesus had been tortured; yes, Jesus had been tried; yes, Jesus had died, but that is not the end of the story.

Step 5: Advanced Prognosis – My Sheep Know My Voice
After the angels spoke to her, Mary turned and saw Jesus though she didn’t recognize him. He asked her the same question, “Woman, why are you weeping?” and then he added, “Whom are you looking for?” She answered, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him.” Then one of the most touching scenes of unbelief turning to belief happens as Jesus calls her name, “Mary!” and she recognizes him and responds, “Rabbouni!”

Step 6: Final Prognosis – I Have Seen the Lord
Now Mary’s run away from the tomb to the disciples has a completely different purpose. She’s not running in panic, she’s running for joy. She is running to announce the Good News, which continues to echo across the years, even to this day — “I have seen the Lord!”


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