John 20:1–18 (NRSV)
Chapter 20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. Verse 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Verse 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. Verse 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. Verse 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Verse 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, Verse 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Verse 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; Verse 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Verse 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.
Verse 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; Verse 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. Verse 13They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Verse 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Verse 15Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Verse 16Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Verse 17Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Verse 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Do you remember the first evangelist who shared the Good News of Jesus with you? Many of us came to the faith through the gift of a kind word, a loving gesture, or a message that brought about a “metanoia” (repentance) experience of change and new directions. Mary Magdalene is one such evangelist. In the bookends of today’s reading, we see her exuberant faithfulness as she brings the news of an empty tomb and her affirmation of the risen Christ. The urgency of Mary’s message is a reminder that there is a joyful urgency to sharing the gospel with others today. Today, on this triumphant day of Easter, Mary is the first, but thankfully not the only one, to announce the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Gracious God, may your Good News of Easter meet us unexpectedly today! We join the heavenly chorus, those with us and those who we hold dear, as we sing your praises from a place of expectant hope. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Amen.