a new day beckons | John 20.1-2
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” John 20.1-2 | ESV
Sabbath is now done. A new day beckons over the horizon, and Mary Magdalene (“bitter tower”) presses into it in the fading darkness, arriving at the tomb – only to see the stone removed from its opening. So she runs to Simon (the Rock) and to that other disciple who was always enjoying such a special place in Jesus’ affections and she bursts in, “They’ve taken the Lord! Right out of the tomb! And we’ve no idea where they’ve put him!” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
“Our four Gospel writers all complete their narrations of the gospel of Jesus with a story, or stories, of Jesus’ resurrection. They come at it from different directions and provide different details, but one element is common to each of them: a sense of wonder, astonishment, surprise. Despite the several hints scattered throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus’ three explicit statements forecasting his resurrection, when it happened, it turned out that no one – no one – expected it. The first people involved in Jesus’ resurrection were totally involved in dealing with his death. Now they had to do a complete about-face and deal with a life. As they did it, they were suffused with wonder.”
Eugene Peterson, Living the Resurrection
The premise of Peterson’s book Living the Resurrection is that the resurrection of Jesus is not merely a fact of history to be observed and established, but a present reality to be lived. We fight intensely for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, but then leave it on the shelf as we begin our religious exercises to improve and shape ourselves into what we think God wants us to be.
But resurrection is not just a past fact, it is a present catalyst.
“We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we ‘walk before the Lord in the land of the living” – the great Psalm phrase (116:9).The resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit. The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we ordinarily don’t give attention to the biggest thing of all – resurrection. And the reason we don’t is because resurrection is not something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on.”
More is at hand as we now transition from Passion narrative into Resurrection story. More is called for than mental acknowledgement of an ancient event.
The Sabbath is now done.
A new day beckons over the horizon.
And, with Mary, we now arrive at the tomb. And as we do, with her we press into that new day in the midst of the fading darkness into a life opened by his suffering but lived by his resurrection.
In what ways have you experienced resurrection as a “present catalyst” in your own life? What are some areas of your life where you’d like to see this catalyst applied?
Lord, as I spend these weeks pondering the resurrection and the events surrounding it, flowing from it, let the reality of the resurrection be lifted off historic page and be absorbed into the marrow of my existence. Let me be defined not only by the fellowship of your sufferings, but also and ultimately by the power of your resurrection. Unleash resurrection in me, and through me. Through Christ.