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John 20:1-18, Easter – The Urgency of the Gospel

Key Verse

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).
— John 20:16

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, April 21, 2019 (Easter)

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: There is an excitement and urgency to the work that the risen Jesus has set out for us to do.

With love, tenderness, and respect, Jesus’ followers had placed his body in a tomb and had wrapped his body with spices in linens to preserve his body and honor him as their king. What a terrible shock it must have been for his followers – Mary, Peter, John – to discover that his body had been removed from the tomb!

If you have ever lost (as in could not find) a person, or even a pet, then you will have some idea of how devastating it can be not to know what has happened to the one you loved. Without the body, there is no closure, and healing from grief is drawn out – there is no end when the loss is unknown.

As if they hadn’t been through enough, the disciples now had to face this final insult. How would they move on? But then, a glimmer of hope – witnesses (angels) who might know what happened. And then the gardener – surely he would know what happened. And then the greatest surprise ever to occur on this earth – the gardener was Jesus himself!

What a whirlwind of emotions Mary must have felt! From the lowest low to the highest high in an instant! But there was no time to linger – Jesus had work for Mary and the disciples. Mary returned immediately to share the good news. He is risen!

There is an immediacy, anticipation, and excitement about this event. It seems there is no time to revel in the miracle; there is work to be done and it is pressing. No time to waste. Mary is already sent – the disciples soon will be.

Sometimes I think many of us have become too complacent against our zeal for God’s work. We have lost our sense of urgency. Maybe this Easter we can revel in the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection – for a moment. And then let’s get to work! Whether the work is small – like Mary’s reporting what she saw, or big – like the disciples’ invitation to go into the world and do God’s work, the urgency and excitement we bring can effect change in the world.

Risen Lord,

Good Friday grief has given way to Easter joy! Cheer our hearts with the good news of your resurrection, O Lord, and drive us forth to proclaim it to the world. In your name, we pray. Amen.


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