Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We travel with Mary, Peter and the beloved disciple from the darkness to the wonder and light of Resurrection: from Good Friday to Easter Day!

John 20:1-8

A REFLECTION FOR EASTER SUNDAY: A Celebration of Resurrection!

We travel with Mary, Peter and the beloved disciple from the darkness to the wonder and light of Resurrection: from Good Friday to Easter Day!


I wonder if you ever ask yourself the question, “What kind of world is this?” Maybe you ask yourself this question when you experience the breathtaking beauty of the world – perhaps a beautiful spring morning, with new life coming from the earth that seemed so cold and dead over the winter months.

“What kind of world is this?” Sadly, this question is probably asked most often when the world can seem most brutal, cruel and sad. When the world is plunged into war; when people suffer from terrible acts of terrorism; when the innocent suffer and die; when we lose someone we love; when we see the tragic effects of natural disaster. Especially at these times, we may ask the question, “What kind of world is this?”

On the day Jesus was tortured, crucified – the day Jesus died on that cross, there seemed to be a simple answer to the question - “What kind of world is this? The answer was, “The kind of world this is, is a ‘Good Friday’ world.” It is a world in which the ‘best’ is squashed underfoot by the ‘worst’; where good is trampled by evil, where hope is torn to shreds by doubt, and where love is killed by hatred. This is the Good Friday world in which we find Mary Magdalene living as she goes to the tomb of Jesus that Third Day, early in the morning.

Mary is suffering in a Good Friday world as she cries bitter tears of sadness for Jesus. She (along with Mary – Jesus’ mother and the other women) had seen Jesus after his experience of being tortured and mocked; she had witnessed his struggle carrying that cross all the way to ‘the Place of the Skull’: she had felt each blow of the hammer in the very depths of her being as Jesus was nailed to that cross. She had seen Jesus, through her tears, suffer the agony of a brutal execution. Mary is still living in that Good Friday world where, after Jesus’ death, some took Jesus’ body down from the cross, and carried it to a tomb – just in time for the beginning of Sabbath.

After Sabbath, we find Mary back at the tomb – still living in that Good Friday world, where all her hopes in Jesus had been dashed to pieces. She was still living in that Good Friday world where life had been overcome by death. And that Good Friday world seemed to get worse as Mary approaches the tomb where the body of Jesus had been placed, and sees to her horror that the doorway was open. The great, heavy stone that had been put there to block the entrance had been moved – rolled away.

In her shock and despair Mary runs to tell the disciples. They are also living in that Good Friday world. They had closed themselves away behind locked doors for fear of their lives, because the people that had arrested and crucified and killed Jesus were searching for them too. They hear Mary’s news, and run to the open tomb. One after the other they nervously look inside and, once inside, as their eyes get accustomed to the darkness, they see that the body of Jesus is gone. Then they suddenly realise that what Jesus had told them about his dying and rising again on the Third Day was true! THEY SEE AND BELIEVE! They return to the other disciples in awe and wonder – with renewed faith emerging from their hearts and souls! They were emerging from the Good Friday world to begin living in the Easter Day World!

But poor Mary. She was alone again, still existing in that Good Friday world. But then, suddenly, her world is changed – changed forever, changed for the better. She meets with the Risen Christ – the first person to see him! Then Mary realises that hope is stronger than fear; love is stronger than hate; faith is stronger that doubt – and life is stronger than death, all because of God’s loving, saving work in Jesus!

Now Mary too lives in the Easter Day World, rather than just existing in the Good Friday world. She lives reflecting Jesus’ Resurrection Light, not dwelling in the darkness of Good Friday. Her eyes have been opened – her life – her world – has been changed forever!

You know, this is the world – the Easter Day World – that Jesus invites us to live in – indeed, Jesus CALLS us to live in – in faith as he calls us to follow him. Certainly, sometimes it is so very difficult to live in the Easter Day World when the sadness, pain and doubt of the Good Friday world threatens to overwhelm us. Sometimes it is so very difficult to live in the Easter Day World when we see so much hatred, war and suffering.

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