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Spiritual Reflections Blog

An Easter Meditation on John 20

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Jesus saith unto her, “Mary”: An Easter Meditation on John 20

In the deep, dark gloom of that first Easter morning, the disciples were consumed in grief. Having followed Jesus through His ministry, witnessed His miracles, heard His teaching, and experienced His compassion, they were now wrestling with the stark reality of death. Jesus, the Light that had enlightened their world, was gone. The darkness of those three days must have been overwhelming, watching and waiting for the next shoe to drop, and their own death to come either sooner or later.

But as is often the case in grief, people find things to do. The women who followed Jesus went to His tomb to finish the burial process that was so quickly executed the previous Friday. But upon their arrival, the stone that had been sealed over the tomb by Pontius Pilate was rolled away. Immediately they ran and told the disciples, and Peter and John ran back to the tomb… only to find the grave clothes set neatly in their places. As the disciples wandered incredulously back to the house, Mary Magdalene sat weeping outside the tomb. One can imagine that into her darkness and despair, the seemingly unthinkable insult had been added to the injury: Jesus body was stolen. Through her tears, she heard the angels speak to her, but couldn’t understand that they were angels. Then came the words of the risen Jesus to her, asking her why she wept. To this repeat of the angel’s question, Mary’s terrible grief prompts her to think Jesus is just a gardener, and that she will demand to take Jesus’ body back from him. Mary’s descent into the throes of lamentation have so clouded her mind, that she cannot even discern what is right in front of her.

Jesus pierced her gloom by speaking her name—and immediately His light and life broke through to her. Her lovingly gasped reply of Rabboni shows that she both heard and understood Him for who He was. Lost in grief and despair, Jesus changed everything for Mary in the instant He called her name.

So it is for us, too. We who walk in the darkness of the fallen world, are often tempted to grief and despair. We suffer in our own flesh, and we live alongside the suffering of others. We see death working itself out in us, and in all the people around us. We see communities and republics fall to the forces of evil, even as the ceaseless whispers of wickedness enter our own ears from the relentless deception of the evil one. We are surrounded by disease, death, and despair, as the pillars of society crumble. We watch our churches strain at gnats while swallowing camels, clergy more attentive to their own political interests than the good of the people, and people who demand clergy who will scratch their itching ears with anything but the Word of God. It is a dark and oppressive mess in many parts of this world, brought on by the sin and wickedness we let loose upon it so many millennia ago. We often sit weeping in our pain and suffering, unable to see what is right in front of our tear clouded eyes.

To you and to me, comes the call of Jesus. He speaks your name just as He did Mary’s so very long ago. He enters your death, your suffering, your pain, your despair, and gives you light, and life, and forgiveness, and hope. He brings to you His own victory over death and the grave, and imparts to you a peace that can never be taken away. The Light of the World is not extinguished—but rather, it shines with all the brilliance of God’s eternal love for mankind. Jesus is the One who dispels our gloom, calling us out of our darkness, and into His marvelous light.

As it did 2000 years ago, so it does today: Jesus changes everything. Is darkness closing in upon you? Is the devil whispering in your ear? Are your eyes so full of tears that you cannot see a single step ahead of where you are? Are you so full of fear that you struggle to rise up and pass the threshold of your door, let alone plunge into the world at large? Hear Jesus call your name, ever so gently and lovingly. Hear Him as He enters your darkness, your temptation, your sorrow, and your fear. Hear Him as He takes all your troubles upon His almighty shoulders, and pins them to His Cross forever. Hear Him as He passes through your death, and returns to give you life everlasting. Hear Him call your name, giving to you faith to believe His promises of forgiveness, life and salvation, and His grace by which you are born again into Him. He has made all things new by His Passion and Resurrection, and He calls to make you new today as well. Hear Him. Amen.

Courtesey of the Lutheran Hermit (c) 2015


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