On Easter morning, reflecting on Isaiah 65:17-25 and John 20:1-18, Sam Bills spoke to us about the resurrection story. Early in the morning, Mary approaches the tomb where Jesus had been laid with ointments to tend to the body. This would have been the beginning of many visits that Jesus’ followers would make to tend his body. She suspects that something has happened in the tomb when she sees the stone blocking the entrance has been moved aside — and runs back for reinforcements. Peter and John hurry back to the tomb with her.
John sees the burial wrappings on the ground, and Peter enters the tomb. Peter sees that the cloth that had covered Jesus’ face was rolled up and set to the side. John joins him, and “also believes.” Yet they do not understand.
But they remember Jesus’ words about the temple of his body being raised. They remember the words that had been spoken, put it together with the situation in the tomb, and they believe. This was a quick transition from seeing to believing. Were they remembering the raising of Lazarus? But having believed, they return to their homes. Have they grasped what is happening?
But Mary stays behind, still weeping in despair of her friend. She stays long enough that Jesus comes — yet still she doesn’t understand. When he speaks to her, she thinks he’s the gardener. It takes his calling her by name to break through her despair — and she finally sees and believes. Mary takes time to see and believe, yet seems to understand in a fuller sense what has happened. She returns to the disciples and tells them that she has seen the Lord.
Sam asks us what it might mean to see, believe, and understand the resurrection. Do we see and return to our homes. Do we remain unconvinced — living in the tension between life and death — seeking deeper understanding of what the appearance of the risen Lord means.
Hear Sam’s words and more as Sam wonders what it means to be fully alive and connected to God.