Alive and on the Loose

While it was still dark, Mary went out to complete her work of caring for Jesus’ body and found the tomb empty. Peter and John raced to see for themselves this incredulous news. At this point, they forget all the things about Jesus’ resurrection that he had taught them before he died. You see, their problem was they had certain expectations for Jesus. They wanted a Jesus they could hold onto, someone they could manage and control, someone who fit into their categories. But let me let you in on a little secret, Jesus won’t stay in the tomb of your expectations. He is alive and on the loose! He will show up unexpectedly in places we might not even imagine. He says ‘don’t cling to me,’ which makes me realize that following Jesus is a never-ending process of losing the Jesus we were holding only to discover a more unmanageable form of him; one who calls us beyond our small-minded pictures of him. Shed the darkness of Friday, and live into the light of Jesus’ resurrection, ready and willing to adventure out, knowing Jesus is already there ahead of you!

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked inat the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

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.

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.

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”).

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.’”

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.

Watch This Week’s Sermon: The Easter Preachers