Passing from death to life…
April 21st, 2019
Renewal, restoration, in fact revelation.
The chocolate bunnies are nice, colorful eggs engage the children’s imagination, but we totally miss the point if we don’t immerse ourselves in the reality of what Easter really means to us.
This is the most important day of celebration in Christendom. Actually, I will cheat a bit and expand this three-day period into a singular event, because the resurrection and the cross are inseparable elements to this celebration.
Some may argue, the birth of Christ upstages Easter, but in my eyes, despite the majesty and the miracle of God coming to dwell among us; it was His sacrifice on the cross and His victory over death that transforms the relationship between us and our creator.
I might yield stature of this event to one we anticipate eagerly when the clouds will part, the Lord will descend, and with a shout and a blast of the trumpet we will meet our redeemer in the air.
But even then, His return couldn’t have happened if it were not for His coming, dying, and resurrection. For it was this one singular act that opened the way for all humanity to be given the opportunity to claim a seat in the heavenlies with the giver of all life.
But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus’ body had been lying. They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus.
“Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” — which means “Teacher.”
John 20:11-16 (HCSB)
The resurrected Jesus spoke to her by name and it was at that moment that Mary Magdalene realized her risen Lord. There is an interesting note to the term ‘Rabbouni’ that Mary exclaimed to Jesus in recognition of His resurrected form.
Commentaries indicate that while it was common to refer to Jesus while he was living among us as ‘teacher’, once He had ascended that practice stopped. What we can draw from this that Mary who knew Jesus as her deliver who had removed seven demons from her, without reservation knew she was in the presence of the one that had set her free.
This Easter morning, I would suggest that Mary represents each of us who would call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus is calling us out by name. And in doing so, how will we acknowledge our redeemer.
If we follow Mary’s lead, we will do so in full recognition of the sacrifice He has made for us, and the triumph of His accomplishment in forging the way to a relationship with Him that has no ending.
Regardless of the name we attribute to Him be it, Lord, Master, or any of an array of others titles we attribute to Jesus, will that name we use reflect our clear understanding and recognition of what He has done for us specifically?
The other thing Mary demonstrates for us is our eager willingness to do precisely what Jesus directs us to. In Mary’s case, Jesus told her to go and tell, which she did!
“go to My brothers and tell them I am ascending to My Father and your Father — to My God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her.
John 20:17b-18 (HCSB)
He told her to ‘go’ she went and did as she was told. What does Jesus say to us as we recognize His resurrected form this Easter morning? It is to go, as well.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB)
We have a ‘go’ to attend to as well.
The book of Matthew closes with these words which we reference as the “Great Commission”. As with so many things that are of God it appears to be a simple thing which has everlasting implications.
It’s not that difficult to share what Jesus has done for us. It’s not hard at all to teach someone what we have learned. If we are observing everything Christ Jesus teaches us, then demonstrating to these new disciples will not be a problem at all.
But with each disciple we draw to a closer walk with Jesus, the charge to take up this commission is handed to the next and then the next one after that. Soon, the entire world will have heard the message of the Good News and by discipleship His Gospel will have been delivered to a dying world. A world that can leverage greatest gift of God delivered on this Easter morning, “Resurrection”!
In the Grace of Jesus!