At the end of the Gospel reading last Sunday, after Jesus' dead body is wrapped in linen cloths and put into a tomb, we heard about the women who watched it all happen return home to prepare spices to anoint his body in the manner required by custom. We heard them rest on the Sabbath according to the commandments of God. Today, the rest is over. Today is a new day.
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb
This is unexpected. The stone over the entrance should never be removed from a tomb. The stone both keeps animals out, away from the body of a loved one, and keeps the smell of death inside the tomb. What do the women feel? Confusion? Fear? Certainly they wonder, because they enter the tomb to investigate.
but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.
Dazzling clothes? When have we heard about dazzling clothes before?
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground
They are terrified and bow. What kind of fear is this? We bow when we are in the presence of someone who is holy. We bow in the presence of God.
but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
What on earth can this mean? This must seem simply crazy to them. This has never happened before.
Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”
Remember, the men say. Remember his words.
The answer is there, a seed planted long ago inside of them. They did not realize at the time that they were hearing the Word of God.
Remember. Come on...remember...
Then the women remembered Jesus’ words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.
These are the names of the eyewitnesses. These are the names of the first people to know the Resurrection has occurred.
These words seemed to the apostles an idle tale, and they did not believe the women.
Well, this is hardly a good beginning to the Good News. The women tell what they have seen and they are not believed. The apostles do not realize at the time that they are hearing the Word of God.
But Peter got up
Remember. Come on...remember...
...dazzling clothes...two men appearing...a voice from heaven saying, "Listen to him!"
Come on...remember his words...
...“the Son of Man must be handed over...be crucified...rise again.”
Peter got up and ran to the tomb;
He remembers! The Word of God, like a seed, has begun to sprout within him!
stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
Does he know what has happened? Not yet.
Does he understand what has happened? Not yet.
But he is amazed.
The Holy Spirit is at work.
Knowledge and understanding will come soon.
Sometimes it takes awhile for the Good News to sprout and grow inside of us. Sometimes it takes awhile for the seeds we sow to sprout and grow inside of others.
But the Holy Spirit is always at work, nudging, prodding, saying,