Key Text: John 20:1-29

Jewish custom dictated a responsibility to mourn at the tomb of the deceased for three days. This is why we are told in John 11:17 it was the fourth day when Jesus arrived at the tomb of His dead friend Lazarus. Mary was not exercising faith in the belief that Jesus would be raised from the dead, she was just doing what any self-respecting Jewish woman would do.

Great thing is that God is gracious and even when at times we are not moving in and by faith, He still reveals something of His glory and goodness.

The resurrection is the ultimate demonstration of this. None of the disciples really believed Jesus would be raised but His resurrection was not dependent on our understanding or comprehension but on the promise of a faithful God who purposed to set us free from the power of sin and death.

Mary saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Out of a fear that the grave had been robbed, she ran to tell Peter. v.9 ‘..for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that He must rise from the dead.’

Later having returned to the tomb sometime after Peter and John who had run to the tomb. (John of course outran Peter) Mary stood weeping outside. Had she gone in she would have beheld the wonder and truth of this resurrection.

Jesus has made the way for us to no longer be on the outside but to enter into the wonderous miracle of resurrection life.

Hebrews 10:17-21 ‘Therefore, brothers since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh…’

It is possible for us to operate out of a ‘religious’ spirit, be in church, sing the songs, say the right things, do the good things and behave in a particular way – yet still be on the outside because we have not received the resurrection life that Christ Jesus won for us on the cross. Mary at this stage still did not believe that Jesus had been resurrected. Look at her response to the angels in the tomb 13‘They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him.’ And when she saw Jesus 14, she still did not know it was Him. This was not His glorified body because He had not yet returned to the Father in heaven. v.17

The veil of the temple was torn in two but the veils over many hearts today are still intact.

When Jesus spoke her name there was an instant recognition. The spiritual veil was lifted and she beheld the risen Christ. A reminder that the good shepherd knows His sheep by name and His sheep know His voice. John 10:27

In this moment, Mary became the first and only member of the N.T. church because she had seen the resurrected Jesus. There was a shift from just understanding and comprehension, from religious heart to a living hope and experience of the resurrected Jesus. She then went and announced to the disciples ‘I have seen the Lord.’ 18

v.16 tells us that she answered in Aramaic/Hebrew.

It’s a strange thing to record. If someone was telling a story of a conversation they had with me. They wouldn’t say I answered or spoke in English because there would be an assumption. The fact that John tells us this, means it has some significance in the story.

John 19:20 sign ‘Jesus, the King of the Jews’ Was written in Hebrew (Religion) Greek (Philosophy/Understanding) Latin (Law) Those three things Religion, Philosophy and Law had conspired to consign Jesus to the cross and death.

They are still at work in the world today, trying to silence the Christian voice and take any reference to God out of Culture and society.

Religion – Rise of Islam and a turning away from faith.

Understanding – Political correctness, LGBTQ+ agenda, Wokeness, Cancel Culture, My Truth

Law – Conversion therapy, Assisted dying, hate crimes.

Mary on that resurrection morning came with all three a religious heart, her own natural understanding apart from revelation and still under law. But resurrection morning overcomes and nullifies the very things that took Jesus to the cross.

Resurrection morning speaks freedom to those with a religious spirit. It reveals the love of the Father paying the ultimate price to reconcile us back to Himself.

Resurrection morning speaks to those who are still bound and separated by their own understanding trying to work salvation out without revelation of the Spirit.

Resurrection Morning speaks to those who are still dead in spirit living under law trying to do good things to earn the favour of God.

Resurrection morning tells us of the new life possible in Christ Jesus, where we can know forgiveness of sin.

Resurrection morning invites us into the empty tomb to behold the risen Jesus, to experience Him and find the grace and mercy of God.

Resurrection morning invites us to believe what is written about Jesus in the scriptures, so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that by believing we may have life everlasting in His Name