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Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.”
᛭ INI ᛭
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Mary Magdalene was at the graveside, but she didn’t know she was just like the Israelites standing by the side of Red Sea. The graveside had a better view than the sea shore. (Not only because it was a Garden.) Sure, she didn’t see “the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” (Though I’m sure there was some joy for the Israelites because of it.) No, Mary saw the face of her risen Jesus, her “Rabboni.” But her better view included something else than just the face of the risen Jesus. Her better view was that she saw death lying dead at that graveside in the face of her risen Jesus.
(2. Jesus really is risen.)
She really saw Him. She saw Him die, she saw Him buried (Mt 27), and she saw Him standing right in front of her alive! But it wasn’t just her! She tells the apostles, “They’ve taken the Lord, and WE don’t know where they’ve laid Him.” John only uses Mary’s witness, but Mary’s words tell us she wasn’t alone: “Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, Joanna, and Salome, and possibly Susanna,” all saw Him, too. (Each Evangelist pointed to different witnesses.)
The disciples did, too. The disciples who didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead! John believed Mary’s report: someone stole the body, “for as yet they didn’t know the Scripture that He must rise from the dead.” Eventually the 11 saw Him. The two Emmaus disciples did, too. After all, Jesus appeared to His disciples.
But it wasn’t just those closest to Him and who always believed in Him. “He appeared to James,” who thought Jesus was crazy! (Mk 3:21) “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me,” Paul says. He was “least of the apostles” because He “persecuted the church of God.” But Jesus also “appeared to 500 at one time, most of whom are alive,” Paul said, “though some had died.” In effect Paul was telling the Corinthians to go ask people if they didn’t believe him.
(1. Jesus lives and death is dead for you.)
The eyewitness reports are in: “Christ, in fact, has been raised from the dead, the firstfuits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor 15:20) But there’s more to say. It’s not just facts. There’s a reason why He rose from the dead: “He was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification,” that is, for the forgiveness of our sins. He paid for your sins, then He received their wages (“the wages of sin is death”) for you. He died for you. He rose for you.
On Easter Jesus killed death. Death is dead. We’re just waiting for the Last Day for the Lord to call it, show it for what it is—dead. “Then Death was thrown into the lake of fire.” Death’s a toothless monster for those in Christ Jesus. It has no power. The grave is useless. “Neither could the gates of death Nor the tomb’s dark portal Nor the watchers nor the seal Hold Him as a mortal.” “Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”
All that’s foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Jesus’ victory over sin, over the devil, over death itself. He sets us free from the slavery to sin, to death, and to the power of the devil. “God has brought His Israel into joy from sadness.” That was Israel seeing “the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” Pharaoh thought to bring death upon Israel, but the Lord turned the tables on him. Egypt, slavery, Pharaoh, and death couldn’t keep His Israel from Him. Parted the waters, Israel “went through on dry ground.” “The Egyptians dead,” the bringers of death, death itself “dead on the seashore.”
No longer slaves in Egypt, but sons of God. “God has brought His Israel into joy from sadness.” That’s you and me, too. Rescued from your sins. Satan defeated. Lead through the wilderness, “this valley of sorrow,” to the promised land, the Lord’s Land, of eternal life.
Jesus lives, and death is dead. Those same promises are made and delivered to you in Holy Baptism. There you were given Christ’s death and resurrection. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death,” Christ’s death. “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” “Baptism now saves you.”
“Baptism now saves YOU, ” you personally, you by name. “I’ve called you by name; you are Mine.” That’s how Jesus talks in John 20. “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’” He’s also your Jesus. “Mary turned and said to Him, ‘Rabboni.’” Literally, “My teacher.” “My Lord.” “My Savior.” “My Jesus.” He’s your Jesus, too. You are His. He is yours. Each and every day. “I am with you always”—the promise His attached to His “baptizing and teaching,” His Word. But also at death and grave. There He stands with your name on His lips. You are His.
Mary Magdalene was at the graveside, but she didn’t know she was just like the Israelites standing by the side of the Red Sea. The graveside had a better view than the sea shore. (Not only because it was a Garden.) Sure, she didn’t see “the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” (Though I’m sure there was some joy for the Israelites because of it.) No, Mary saw the face of her risen Jesus, her “Rabboni.” But her better view included something else than just the face of the risen Jesus. Her better view was that she saw death lying dead at that graveside in the face of her risen Jesus.
The same is true and will be true for you. Has to be so: Christ died, Christ is risen, and you’re baptized. Jesus once for all did the heavy lifting. He killed death by rising from the dead. You’ve been given that in Baptism. On the Last Day you’ll see your Jesus, too. He’s already yours, now. You’re already His.
Jesus lives. Death’s dead. You live, and you will live forever, never to die again. Because Jesus took care of it—killed it. His standing face to face with Mary proves it. Her name on his lips, is His promise to her and to you that