Summary: An Easter sermon preached 4/12/2009 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Audubon, Iowa. It is a first person sermon from the view of Mary Magdalane.
Mary Magdalene’s View of the Resurrection
4/12/2009 Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Audubon, Iowa
You just heard your Pastor read to you Mark’s account of my visit to a cemetery. It was a visit unlike any other. You all have made similar visits to the graves of loved one’s. You know the sadness and the pain that you feel when you visit. In fact, it may be that the sadness of the separation is too great for you to visit your loved one’s grave. Today, I want to tell you about my visit to a cemetery, and how I could leave that day with great joy.
It was the third day since my Lord Jesus had died. I saw them whip him, mock him, beat him, spit on him, and force him to carry the instrument of his own death up the hill to his place of execution. Those of you who were here on Good Friday heard His Father tell you about what he saw and what he felt as he watched His Son suffer and die. It was the worst day of my life. You see, Jesus had mercy on me, a poor, sinful being. When He met me, I had been possessed by several demons, the good that I wanted to do, I was unable to do, and the bad that I didn’t want to do, I did. People were afraid of me. People looked down on me. I was one of “those women” people told you to stay away from. But Jesus took that sin, death, and the power of the devil away from me, and gave me new life. No longer did I have to walk around doing the will of an evil master, I was set free to do the good things that God would have me do. That’s why I followed Jesus. He was my way, truth, and life.
And it was heart-wrenching for me, and for the other women, his mother Mary, Salome, and Mary, the mother of James, to watch what happened to our Lord and our teacher. We had followed him throughout Galilee and cared for him and his disciples, we provided for their physical needs, so that they could continue to do the Father’s will. When the previous week began, Jesus was being given a King’s welcome. People were running to the entrance of the city to greet him, waving palm branches, laying their cloaks on the road, and crying out “Hosanna”, meaning “Save us now!” But, as that week continued the cries of the crowds changed. Judas, someone we thought we could trust, someone we thought Jesus could trust, had betrayed Jesus, so that His enemies could have Him arrested. He had done nothing wrong, yet, he stood accused of crimes He had not committed. The crowd wanted him dead. The same crowd that just days before were welcoming Him into the city with open arms, crying out for Him to save them, now were crying out “Crucify Him!” It was hard enough to see our Rabbi treated like this. It made us sad. We saw the nails be driven into His hands and feet. We saw him hang there on the cross. We saw Him put others before Himself when He asked His Father to forgive them. We heard him utter the words “It is finished!”, and bow his head and die. We were there to see His end. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to watch. I shed many tears over His death. I never felt so much grief, sadness, and fear, as the day My Redeemer died.
Not only that, we were afraid. If they treated our Lord like this, and wanted Him gone so badly, what would they do to us, his followers? Because of that, I can understand why the Disciples ran away in fear and hid. They were afraid for their lives. They were afraid of being the next to be arrested, tried, and executed. Maybe that’s why they didn’t want to come with us to the tomb that Sunday morning, that first day of the week. Perhaps they thought I and the other women were crazy for wanting to go to the tomb that Sunday, out of fear of what would happen to us. But, I was determined. Just as I cared for my Lord during His life, I would care for His body in His death. I had to go to that cemetery that morning.
You see, we had to come to prepare Jesus’ body for a proper burial. Because He was executed on a Friday, and we were not allowed to properly prepare His body for burial on the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea made arrangements to take Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrap it in linen cloths, and lie it in a tomb in a garden near the place where He was crucified. I saw them roll a large stone against the entrance. It was clear once they put Jesus’ body in there, it wasn’t coming out. And no one was going in, either.