Easter greetings in the name of triune God. For Today’s Easter meditation please turn your Bible with me, Gospel according to John 20:1-18. But we would focus only on ver. 1, 11-13,and 16-18.
All the gospel writers refer the passage, which we have just read. Mt.28:1-10; Mk.16:1-10 and Lk.24:1-12 All of them give much importance to this incident. The central truth of these passages is the fulcrum of our Christian faith-Easter.
The background of the fourth gospel could be traced back in the various religious movements and philosophies like Platonism, Stoicism, of the early century. Many heresies about Jesus had developed during the period.
After three and a half years of glorious ministry, Jesus was crucified. He died on the cross and buried in the tomb. But interestingly Jesus resurrected and came out of the tomb overcoming the human strategies. Chapter 20 talks about that great event, which is the centre of the Christian faith. Vs.1-10 talks about the Mary’s visit to the tomb of Jesus and found the open tomb. She reported to Peter and John about open tomb and absence of Jesus’ body in the tomb. They came and enter in to the tomb and see the linen cloth and napkin in the tomb. Then Peter and John went back to their homes!! ...but...she alone standing near the tomb, weeping and crying.. what is the reason behind.
Magdala is one of the towns in the province of Galilee. Mary is from that city. Jesus had cast out seven demons from her, that time onwards she became his follower. All the gospels report Mary’s visit to the tomb during the dawn. Synoptic gospels say that Mary came with a company of women. But her name is mentioned first among all women in the synoptic. However, john’s gospel mentions that she went to the tomb alone. Here I would like to draw your attention to Mary Magdalene who went to tomb early in the morning. What made her to take a risky step like this?
Mary Magdalene a model of unparallel love
Verse 11-13 narrates Mary’s discovery of the empty tomb. The gospel of Jesus does not end with his death and burial. The crucified Christ overcomes the death. The best evidence for his resurrection is the empty tomb and his appearance to his disciples in various occasions. The word ‘But’ contrasts Mary’s behaviour with Peter and John who have left the tomb. Only John’s gospel tells us about “weeping Mary” at the tomb. The Greek word Klaio used for weeping means ‘expressed profound grief’, ‘violent emotion’, ‘loudly cries out’, etc.
When male disciples were shut the door and sitting and chatting inside the house. But this Marry rush to the tomb of Jesus, she wanted to express her loyalty, gratitude and love to Jesus, her saviour. Once she was suffered by demonic possession. In Lk. Ch 8:2, we see that Jesus cast out 7 demons from her. According to Jewish culture demonic possession is the curse and they become out cast in the society. She was hopeless and isolated from the socio-religious realm. By the physical weakness, she was cut off from everywhere. But Jesus gives her hope and He made her something from nothing. He restored things what were lost in marry. Yes, dear beloved- these are the reasons of her love. She expresses her thanks at the suitable time in an appropriate way.
“There was a poor shepherd, who was unexpectedly elevated to the position of king. During the course of time he became prominent among surrounding nation by defeating them. Once he got a great victory. This king expressed his thanks and loyalty to his God by dancing publically with his servants. Seeing this dancing the queen got an angry and tried to stop him. Queen asked king why you are acting like a vulgar fellow shamelessly. The king answered to queen ....“honey I was noteworthy to the prince of this nation and your husband, but by the grace of my God I came thus far...” Once I was nothing and neglected by my parents and brothers. I was a big zero before others, but my almighty lifted up me as a hero. He is none other than David, the second king of Israel. dear beloved in Christ I believed this is the story of most of us. This unshaken love was the driven force behind Mary’s early morning visit to tomb of Jesus. Dear, what about our gratitude towards our God?
Marry is a symbol of taking risky steps for faith.
Fear is the common phenomenon, which everyone faces. But Bible says, perfect love drives out fear. Do you know the pathetic situation of women in the 1st century Judaism?. Ladies were oppressed and ill-treated in the socio-religious realms. But we see that marry magdalin was different character. Let’s see what were the things she had to fear about?.
A) Feminity: Marry was an ordinary woman from the small city of Galilee. Even men are fearful to go in lonely cemetery in the early morning. No women dare to go in the early morning, even in noon time..? but here one women going a cemetery. B) Darkness and Tomb also a great challenge: no one was willing to visit tomb in this time according to schollers this dawn means 3-6 am. But she is willing to visit tomb at any time because her love and gratitude compelled her to did so. C) Roman soldiers: in Mtt. 27:65 we can see that Pilate gave a group of soldiers for keeping the tomb and body of Jesus. Merry was the eyewitness of crucifixion and presence of numberless cruel Roman soldiers. D) Big Rock and Roman Imperial Seal. This stone would require several strong men to open it. But by the super strong faith and determination she overcomes all the above mentioned hindrances. She was not bothered about the consequences from the various places.
My dear, most of us face much type of problems in our Christian journey. It may be economical crisis, rejection from our own family or society. Let me encourage you that, only by the fearless faith and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome all the stumbling blocks and problems. When we read Rom.:35-38, Apostles pictures certain things and asks.. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?. In the read passage we can see three questions by two. “why are you weeping:” (Vs..11.13,15) here we can see the result of her weeping. The creator of the universe directly called her name ‘Merry..’ He directly appointed her for a great mission that is to proclaim the good news- Easter- to the world. She is the 1st missionary among disciple and NT church. She came with a news ‘ I have seen the Lord’ from her only the world heard the fundamental truth of the NT church . Easter is the most importent News in the World. This is not a ritual and yearly celebration but resurrection is a daily episode and personal experience of all believers...
Lets’ examine ourselves. What is our response to God in various difficult satiations? Is it Easter is a yearly ritual or personal experience in our daily life? The Holy Spirit helps us to face all problems and courage for a fruitful Christian journey. Amen
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Prepared by Prasad. V Abraham.