Jo Acharya | April 16, 2022
Sunday morning. Peter is deep in his own thoughts. Going round and round his head are the shameful words he spoke three days ago: “I don’t know the man!” John is silent too. He watched the unthinkable happen, watched his teacher and friend die in agony, and could do nothing to stop it. Nine other men, shocked, numb, united in grief. Then Mary is at the door. The tomb is empty. They have taken him away.
In a moment, this is all that matters. They have to know where he is. He is dead, and his body is all they have left to connect them to him, to prove to themselves that the last three years really happened. To honour and bless and care for him in all the ways they couldn’t in his final hours. And now it’s gone. It can’t be gone. They must find him.
John gets to the hollowed out tomb first, but he can’t bring himself to go in. Peter – impulsive, passionate Peter – doesn’t stop to think. Rushes in. And then is unusually still. Stares at the pieces of cloth, stained with blood. Stares at the body that should be there, that isn’t there. And then John is with him, staring, seeing, not understanding but somehow believing something impossible. But Mary stays. Long after they have left, she is there. Weeping, not believing, not hoping. Exhausted and broken. But where else can she go? This is the last place she saw him. All she can do is stay, and weep.
And she’s the one who sees the angels. She’s the one who sees the risen Jesus. He can’t watch her cry and not comfort her. He can’t leave her without hope. He speaks her name, and darkness turns into light. Sorrow and fear are replaced by joy and peace. Death gives way to life. Not a return to normality but a whole new kind of life, upside down and inside out. Not comfort in the familiar, but something entirely more challenging and wonderful. Mary – sad, weary, disappointed Mary – becomes the one who is trusted with the news; the first to witness Jesus’s resurrection, and the first to announce his glorious victory.
And so it begins: the call to a bigger hope, a deeper hope. An audacious hope that underpins everything, nourishes in all seasons, sustains through all circumstances, and is offered freely to all people.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Happy Easter everyone.