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No reason to cry

John 20:1-18

Pastor David Ernst

Easter Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Apr 4, 2021 

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Our text actually comprises two episodes: verses 1-10, when Mary Magdalene, in the company of the other women, as Mateo, Marcos and Lucas informed us, discovered the first evidence that something strange has happened, and verses 11-18. After Mary informed Peter and John, she must have followed them back to the tomb.

The first reference to Mary Magdalene by the evangelists is in Luke 8:23. Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary, but we must not think of her as a prostitute, according to the post-Apostolic tradition that confuses Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman in Luke 7: 36-50. Luke indicates that Mary Magdalene was one with sufficient financial resources to materially help Jesus and his disciples. She is called Maria Magdalena because she comes from Magdala, a town located on the shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee.

The other women stayed and investigated the matter more closely, but Maria ran back to town as fast as she could. She met Simón Pedro and Juan first. She seems to be sure that the grave had been raped by someone, perhaps even the authorities. She was not alone in her anxious fears, the other women agreed with her. Here we see the result of following one’s own guesses and conjectures rather than paying strict attention to the Word of the Lord.

Peter and John ran to the tomb. The younger Juan surpassed Peter and reached the grave first. But he couldn't bring herself to investigate more closely. He just crouched down and looked into the grave. He could make out the linen cloths with which the body had been rolled, but nothing else; and he couldn't bring himself to go inside. But Peter entered the tomb; he looked closely at the grave cloths. Certainly it was quite surprising to find all the cloths set aside with such apparent care, without any sign of haste, as it would have been the case if the grave had been desecrated and the body stolen.

What John and Peter saw led them to a conclusion: Jesus himself had put these wrappers aside and had come back to life. However, they, with the other apostles, still did not have the proper understanding of the Scriptures regarding the Lord's resurrection, that is, that it was a necessary part of the plan of redemption, which had to happen to complete the work for the salvation. of humanity. And the same facts, related by these faithful witnesses, without the slightest hint of having conspired to deceive the world: the empty tomb, the careful order in the tomb, the absence of any hint of theft, should convince any reasonable critic. of the resurrection of Jesus. That is the faith of Christians; on the miracle of the resurrection of Christ they put their own hope of salvation. The two disciples left the tomb more slowly and thoughtfully than they had come.

Verse 11-12: “But Mary was outside crying by the tomb; and she crying she bent down and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white robes sitting, one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. "

The two angels, one at the head and the other at the feet, are reminiscent of the two cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. We do not know why these angels did not appear to Peter and John and why nothing is said about Mary seeing the robes of the tomb.

"And they said to her: Woman, why are you crying?" The angels' words were not a question, but a reproach. They said that Mary should look at the evidences of the resurrection and remember the words of Jesus. While Maria was still talking to the angels, it is possible that she heard a noise behind her. There was a man standing there, but somehow she did not associate this man with her Lord.

And having said this, she turned back, and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her: Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”No te from now on that informal forms are used in all conversations between Mary and the angels or between Mary and Jesus.

Jesus 'first question is the same as that of the angels. "Woman" recalls Jesus' speech to his mother, John 2: 4; 19:26. "Why are you crying?" implies that there is no reason to cry. She depended on her own knowledge, not that of the Scriptures.

Mary recognized the presence of the risen Christ when she called her by name. Jesus called us by name in holy baptism and when we share the sacrament, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the words of Jesus to recognize his body and blood.

“Jesus said to her: Touch me not; because I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God. " When his glorification had been completed, his disciples could enter into closer communion with him than ever before, in the sacrament he had instituted the night before his death. By his ascension, Jesus entered into the full and unlimited use of his divine majesty and, therefore, of his omnipresence as well. Reasonable proofs of Christ's resurrection can never give the heart the firm faith that is necessary for salvation. If all the disciples, men and women, had remembered closely the Lord's prophecies about his passion and resurrection, much pain would have been saved.

Christians must learn better and better to search the Scriptures, to turn to the Word in all the various vicissitudes of life, instead of following their own ideas and feelings. And the Holy Spirit illuminates our study of the Bible with the light of faith, the same faith that we receive in the sacraments and allows us to understand the resurrection of Jesus. In this faith we can endure the trials and difficulties of this life, even the death of a loved one. There is no reason to mourn for those who die in the hope of resurrection. They are with the Lord and we are soon.

The peace that passes all understanding be with you. Amen.

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