“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.”– Mark 16:8-10
Imagine this scene with me. Jesus’ disciples had just witnessed their leader crucified on the cross. They are now sitting, weeping together, possibly in a house, wondering what was going to happen next. They were alone. He had been the driving force behind their ministry, well, in front of their ministry and had left them with limited ability to keep things moving forward. In fact, some had even left the rest and went back to their old habits or work.
Then, all of a sudden, after the burial had taken place, they have Mary Magdalene come flying through the door, pointing towards the tomb, saying “JESUS IS RISEN!!!” (or something to that effect) and…they stay seated not believing the words she was saying. What a great story right? Well, for us now, yeah, but for them not so much. Jesus wasn’t right there in front of them and Mary expected them to believe her words without any proof. How was that supposed to happen?
Then later we find Jesus trying again to use two other disciples to tell the truth (v.12-13). Maybe this time it would work? Nope! They still didn’t believe. There were three people that Jesus revealed himself to and asked to share the truth of His resurrection, but to no avail. Why? Perhaps the disciples were so caught up in their own grief? Perhaps they didn’t want to listen? Maybe they felt they needed to see it to believe it? Either way, someone was trying to point them to the truth of Christ and what they experienced, but they were ignored. It isn’t that the other disciples didn’t trust their words, but they were caught up in their emotion and couldn’t focus on the fact that Jesus’ promise was coming true.
This Sunday we celebrate the very day being spoken of in this passage, but people still see it as a great opportunity to take scary pictures with an Easter bunny (Don’t do that to your kid). In this day and age we have the same issue as the aforementioned disciples. We have people being told the truth of Jesus, but for some reason they choose to ignore it. It is an unfortunate reality. However, I don’t know if they are really choosing to ignore the good news or they are choosing to ignore us. We may have had a great experience with Jesus, but if our lives and our words aren’t showing that experience as real then of course people won’t listen.
Now is a better time than any to show the true meaning of Jesus’ resurrection. It was and is a sign of God’s message of love and redemption. It was not and is not a message of anger or hate. It is not a message of condemnation, but reconciliation. We need to point to the cross, where the blood was shed for our sins but, just as importantly, we should be pointing people to the tomb. The tomb that is empty with a stone rolled away, where Jesus once laid and walked out of in order to reveal God’s glory. Let us point to that message, to that good news and allow God’s glory to outshine the Easter bunny.