Today’s Reading: St. Matthew 27:57-66; St. John 20:1-18
“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned to Him and said in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’)” (St. John 20:16)
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! In the Name of Jesus. Amen. “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” Say it, shout it. Grab the person next to you and tell them, too! The Lord has risen from the dead! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
The Fast is over! But no one tells that to the women when they head to the tomb early in the morning. They come to prepare a dead Jesus for burial. But they soon discover that He isn’t there. Was He stolen? No one knows what has happened. They all expected Jesus to stay dead!
Mary stayed behind, weeping at the grave as she stared into the empty tomb. It’s bad enough that her Lord would die such a shameful death on the Cross. Now He’s been stolen, too. Seeing a gardner, she curtly asks for His body back. She only wants to do what is proper!
Shhhh...It’s Jesus. But she doesn’t know it, yet. He’s hidden Himself from her. What joy for Him! He’s drop-kicked the devil back into hell. The serpent is conquered and crushed. His victory was not by force of arms, but by dying on the Cross. Now, He’s about to announce to His dear Mary just how wide, and deep His love is for her, and for you.
“Mary,” He says. She immediately knows her Lord’s voice. He calls her out of death and despair, He enlivens her by calling her by name.
“Rabonni!” she cries out as she grabs Him and hangs on to Him for dear life. How could she ever let Him go again?
He gives her the Easter Gospel: You don’t have to keep hold of me. My Father is now your Father. My God is now your God. You are a child of God. God’s son. Jesus’ brother - by His death and resurrection. You were buried with Christ in Baptism and raised with Him in His resurrection! That’s the same Gospel he gives to you this morning.
Death itself now lies dead in the tomb of Christ. There lie all your sins, too. You’ve been freed from them! Not because you changed your ways, but solely because of the terrible sufferings and death that He went through for you.
Go kiss your family. Give hugs to the people at church. Text your friends! Nudge that person who always annoys you. Tell them your joy. Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
“Then let us feast this Easter Day On Christ, the bread of heaven; The Word of grace has purged away The old and evil leaven. Christ alone our souls will feed; He is our meat and drink indeed; Faith lives upon no other! Alleluia!” (LSB 458, verse 7)