According to the resurrection story (St. John 20:1ff.), “while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb …” She noticed that the stone was rolled away and that the body of Jesus was gone, so she ran to tell Peter and John that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.
The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is also known as the Passover of Christ – the day Christ passed over from death to life. Some say, the greatest miracle of the Christian Religion. It is the time of highest celebration and triumphalism.
Peter and John came to the tomb and they too saw that the body of Jesus was not there. The linen wrappings were still in the tomb – including the pillow or cloth that was under Jesus’ head. So Peter and John talked the matter over and then went away, after all, what could they do about it?
But Mary did not leave. She lingered in the garden. The Bible tells us that as she waited she cried, and maybe walked around, meditating, talking to herself, praying and crying. She loved Jesus in life and she loved him in death. Then, somehow, she decided to take a second look at the tomb, and it was then something new happened. She “saw two persons/angels in white sitting where the body was lying; “one of them asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to him, “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have lain him.”
When she had said this she turned and saw someone standing behind her. The person asked, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ She thought it was the gardener, so she said to him, “Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away with me.” Jesus said to her, “Mary?” At that moment she recognized his voice so she turned and said to him, “Rabbouni!” – which is translated, “My dear Teacher.” She came forward to embrace him, but Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me for I have not yet ascended to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Then Mary ran and told the other disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” Notice that there was one question that was asked twice of Mary in the story, first by the men in the tomb and then by Jesus: “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Mary had every right to be weeping:
- She had all her hopes in Jesus – the one who would save Israel.
- She had seen the wonderful miracles he did and heard the many words of wisdom and salvation he taught.
- She had experienced his love and she loved him in return.
- She had witnessed the great miscarriage of justice, lies and twisted truths at his trial.
- She was present as he was hauled off and crucified. Now he was dead, and some of her hopes and faith too were dead, only one thing remained and that was her love for him. The only thing she could do now was to rebury his body in her garden, near her house, so she could watch and make sure nothing else untoward take place. She wanted his body back!
Has anyone asked you the question Jesus asked,“Why are you weeping?” When did you last weep and remember why you were so overwhelmed? Were you weeping for a child, a son or a daughter, a spouse, a mother or father, a relative or, like Mary, for a very dear beloved friend?
During this blessed Resurrection season, I ask you the question Jesus asked Mary, “Why are you weeping, worried and/or distraught?
We live in an imperfect world. We are all imperfect persons. We all worry and even weep at different times for different things or different persons and with a different degree of intensity! There are times when we cause others to week, for one reason or another. In the midst of the most joyous and triumphant Christian season celebrating the victory of life over death, a woman is crying and Jesus is asking, “Why are you weeping?
But here is the mystery in all of this, resurrection and new life is a result of suffering crucifixion and death. Behind every resurrection there is a story of suffering, death and weeping. We can’t have resurrection without death! The good news of the resurrection is not that humans will suffer no longer, nor commit more evil deeds, but the good news of the resurrection is that God is with us in the midst of our, suffering, dying and weeping.
Jesus is standing behind us when we are weeping, like he was for Mary! God is with us even in our suffering and pain! God is with us in our dying! Our God is bigger and stronger than evil, suffering and death! The resurrection tells us that even in the darkest times of our lives, God is with us rescuing us from our human wreckage and raising us up to new life, out of the tombs that encase us.
Mary’s crying was changed into joy and wonder and, later, the disciples’ despair and confusion was changed to enthusiasm and hope when they came to recognize the risen Christ. Doubt was transformed into faith, and corruption and wantonness into new love and life.
So Jesus asks you, “Why are you weeping?” Why are you crying? Why are you lamenting? Why are you sulking and grieving? Why are you distraught? Look and listen, hear Jesus’s voice calling you and asking, “Why are you weeping?
In Christ there is always new hope!
Hear the Easter Proclamation:
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us,
so let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness,
so let us celebrate the feast,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Christ once raised from the dead dies no more;
death has no more dominion over him.
In dying, he died to sin once for all;
In living he lives to God forever more.
See yourselves therefore as dead to sin
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ has been raised from the dead;
the first fruits of those who sleep.
For as by one man came death,
by another has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Amen
A blessed Resurrection Day and Season to you and yours,
Ernest Belisle (Pastor)