The Lord Be With You Today!
Christ Is Risen!
He Is Risen, Indeed!
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been,
one at the head and the other at the foot.
(Just as the two carved golden cherubim
who protected the mercy seat of God's chosen dwelling place
faced each other seated atop the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant
with their wings folded heavenward in praise
to point our view upward toward God in praise and submission to Him
and their eyes cast downward gazing on the sprinkled blood of the sacrifice,
a picture of where God's gaze rests when He addresses our sin,
even now two angels stand guard over the place Jesus' Body had lain,
the ultimate and final Mercy Seat, one at His Head and one at His Feet,
guarding the spot where the Body had been placed
from Whom the blood sacrifice was given,
the Body where God Himself through Jesus Christ dwelt.
The stance of the cherubim teach us an important lesson,
to lift our hands in praise to Him
while our gaze remains intent and steadfast on His provision.)
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said,
“and I don’t know where they have put Him.”
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
(Distracted, frantic, and desperate with fear and grief,
even the appearance of angels doesn't faze her.
How often does distraction blind us
to the very presence of heavenly hosts around us
as we entertain angels unaware.
Mary even fails to recognize Jesus through her tears and agony,
the very One she is seeking, the very One for Whom she longs.
In our trials, we so often fail to see Jesus
standing right before us revealing Himself to us,
waiting for us to focus on Him instead of the circumstances.)
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?
Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking He was the gardener, she said,
“Sir, if you have carried Him away,
tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic,
“Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
(Finally, when Jesus speaks her name, the fog of her despair and grief lifts
as she realizes she is standing in Jesus' very presence.
Today, He still tenderly asks us the question as a warm and loving invitation
to tell Him about our deepest hurt and our deepest needs.
He still stands before us today calling us by name to focus on Him
instead of the hopelessness and fear of circumstances we face.)
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to Me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
Go instead to My brothers and tell them,
‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father,
to My God and your God.'”
(Perhaps He is admonishing her that He is no longer the same,
that He is now the Holy Presence of God Himself.
Perhaps He is reminding her that His ascension is still some time away
and that she will have additional time to see Him.
Perhaps He is reminding her that His resurrected presence
impels her to step beyond herself and into His greater calling,
but the real treasure here is that Jesus gives
this solemn and joyous mission to a woman of that day.
He still extends that same calling and mission to us
to go tell others that He has risen and ascended into Heaven.)
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:
“I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her.
(With what incredulous joy they must have received her news
and one of the affirmations to us today that He has risen from the grave
and now lives in us through His Holy Spirit!)
Christ Is Risen!
He Is Risen, Indeed!
May the Lord richly bless you this day!
In Christ's love,
513 254 3874