Posted by on Apr 12, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on I Will Come Back

Our readings for Easter Sunday, 2020, come from Matthew 28:1-10 and John 20: 1-18. As I am reading, please imagine that you are a part of this experience, seeing what the disciples and Mary see when they go to the grave.

We see Mary and the “other Mary” coming to the grave where Jesus was placed to anoint the body, as they were not able to do it on Friday, because of the Passover. In John, it is noted that Mary saw the stone moved. In Matthew, the two women experience what could be described as an earthquake they though opened the tomb. Matthew says that the angels came and the guards fell down…not quite sure why…the brilliance of their appearance? Possibly. However, they saw that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb.

In John’s gospel, Mary turned and went back to the place where the disciples were staying in Jerusalem to tell them that Jesus body was gone. Peter and John rushed back with Mary to the tomb to see for themselves. John looked into the tomb, but did not go in. Peter, however, did go in.

Now…let’s pause there for a minute. In Jewish practice, when the “master of a house” has been dining with his family, if he is done eating, he wads up his napkin and throws it on the table indicating he is done eating and wants no more. However, if the “master of the house” folds his napkin up and lays it by his plate, he is indicating, “I am coming back.”

What the disciples and the two Marys’ saw was the wrappings that had been around Jesus had been folded up. They weren’t messed up…thrown all over. The wrappings were neatly folded and placed on the stone. Jesus was indicating He was coming back!

The disciples and the Marys’ were shocked by the appearance of the tomb. The disciples immediately returned to the room they had been living in through the Passover celebration as well as the horrible experiences of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. They thought that Jesus’ body had been stolen. However, the orderly arrangement of the wrappings clearly indicated that it wasn’t a robbery.

Mary Magdalene stayed at the tomb weeping….when she heard a voice speaking to her. She saw someone, but did not recognize the voice or the appearance of this person. She only recognized the voice when Jesus said to her, “Mary”. She called him, “Teacher” and clung to him. Jesus had to tell her to release him from touch as he had not yet ascended. He also told her He would be with them for awhile and that He was going to His Father and their Father as well as His God and their God.

The Matthew text reveals to us that Jesus told Mary to return to the disciples and that He was going to Galilee and to tell the disciples to leave Jerusalem and travel to Galilee, the last stop in Israel before going into Gentile territory.

You say, OK…I know that story and have heard it many times, but what about now. What is this to me?

Well…if you had been at the crucifixion and had seen all of the horrible things that had been done to Jesus, I expect you would have the same reaction as Mary, Peter and John. Would you have wanted to go to the tomb to anoint the body? Would you want to do what was necessary to honor someone who had died so horribly on the cross that you had followed as a disciple?

We, too, experience the horror of the crucifixion every year. We relive the institution of the Lord’s Supper, the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, the conversion of the criminal on the cross, the realization by a centurion on Jesus’ death that He was the Son of God.

The Story of Easter, thankfully, doesn’t end there. Jesus told his disciples that He was coming back through a very seemingly insignificant action, namely that of a carefully folded grave cloth.

Jesus has come back…for the disciples of His time….and especially for us, His disciples of our time. How has He shown to you that He is part of your life? What have you seen or heard that has totally assured you that Jesus is here and with you?

Jesus told Mary and his disciples to leave the city where the horrible trial and experiences of the crucifixion took place and go to Galilee…where they would be commissioned as His disciples to the world.

Jesus came back to us, also, and has commissioned us to be his disciples in His world now. Yes, at this present time, it’s not easy. Or is it? We have time right now to consider what we, as His disciples, can do for others. We have time right now to read and meditate on His word and let Him speak to us. We have time to talk with our family and our friends…though not in person, but in other ways. We have time to pray for people and that God will show us what our mission will be following this uncomfortable separation from others.

Regardless…Jesus assured us He is Coming Back. He came back to the disciples…He comes to us every day…He knows what we are experiencing, and He can help us.

May you all experience the joy of this Easter knowing that Jesus is here with us. He Lives in our lives…now. He did not abandon His followers and He WILL NOT abandon us.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the assurance that you are always with us. You came back to continue teaching your disciples and you come back to us every day of our lives. May we be your loyal, committed disciples as we make a difference in your world. Amen

Christ is Risen. We got forth in joy! We got forth in faith! We go forth to live! Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!

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