Must rise from the dead?

My sermon text for tomorrow is John 20:1-18. Though I have preached from this many a Easter, there is always something here that reaches out and grabs my attention. It is a long passage of Scripture, presenting many places for reflection and application. In times past, I have focused on the arrival at the tomb, exploring aloud what it would be like to be Mary, Peter, or the “one whom Jesus loved.” I have also preached on the way Jesus answered Mary Magdalene’s tears with, “Woman, why are you weeping?” I recall another sermon about the message we are to tell the world, the one we hear from Mary at the end of this section, “I have seen the Lord.” There are many other ways to preach through this text, but what I’ll focus on for this Easter is the phrase, “for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”

Who could blame them for not understanding? What happened to Jesus just didn’t make sense. Even though he had prepped them with words about his death, even just the Thursday night of that week talking about his body and blood. It just wasn’t within their realm of possibilities. It wasn’t long, though, before it became their realm of possibility. They experienced it on a personal level and proclaimed it to their world.

May we do the same as we visit the empty tomb tomorrow.


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