Acts 10:34-43 (page 919 in our pew Bibles) Peter gives as thorough and concise an overview of the Christian message as you will ever hear. The result of which was that the non-Jews had the Holy Spirit fall on them as they heard the word.
Colossians 3: 1-4 (page 984 in our pew Bibles) When that happens our lives are hidden in Christ so that what happened to him also happens to us. We will die like Jesus, but we will also be raised.
John 20: 1-18 (page 906 in our pew Bibles) John's version of the resurrection is based on the progressive experience of one woman, Mary Magdalene whose grief turns first to bewilderment, then to calling Jesus "Teacher" and finally she refers to Jesus as "Lord"
Mary Magdalene. Now there is a name to conjure with and many people have over the centuries, weaving myths and tall tales and confusing here with other Biblical characters, from being a repentant prostitute to being Jesus’ wife or lover.
The Biblical evidence supports none of this of course.
And John’s gospel centres his story of the raising of Jesus from the dead on the progressive revelation to that one person, Mary Magdalene
We do know that she was a prominent female follower of Jesus, a group that supported Him in his ministry (Luke 8: 1-3) out of their own means.
Jesus had healed her of a presumably severe psychiatric disorder as “Seven demons” had been cast out of her and in her gratitude she became a fervent disciple.
Mary was the first witness to an event that we believe lies at the centre of world history. We even measure time in terms of the “Jesus event” everything that happened before Jesus and everything that happened after Jesus – B.C. and A.D.
Mary witnessed a man who was raised to a new order of life. Jesus wasn’t raised to a life only to die again like Lazarus.
Jesus was not resuscitated – He was resurrected to eternal life.
We, as Christians are privileged to have seen the future. Jesus is the future – our future – which has broken into historical time – to show us what lays in store for us.
The importance of the belief that says that Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine is that what happened to Jesus will also happen to us – his brothers and sisters. We have seen our future.
Yes we will die, as Jesus did, but we will also be raised just as Jesus is raised. We have a Golden future and that Golden future had to be communicated and the pivotal figure in communicating that message was Mary Magdalene who was called by the early church – The apostle to the apostles.
Now Mary’s dawning understanding of the full importance of this event can fairly mirror our own.
At first she was just wracked with grief over a loved one’s death as we are. Then a dawning bewilderment over what might have taken place, incomprehension, believing of course that resurrection was a thing completely unknown and unexpected.
The person she encountered couldn’t be Jesus, because Jesus had died and people don’t come back from the dead and she mistakes the person in front of her for the gardener
The full import of what had taken place only came about when Jesus called her by name. “Mary”.
Then a dawning realisation that something wonderful and earth shattering may have taken place as she recognises her friend and leader and she calls Jesus “Teacher”.
The full import and understanding came when Jesus explained that he had yet to ascend to “my Father and your Father”. And when Mary ran to tell the other disciples Jesus is referred to as “the Lord”.
It is the same for us. At first hearing that a man has been raised to everlasting life we may treat that news with scepticism or bewilderment.
It is only when in some mystical way we hear Jesus call us personally that we understand the full import of what has happened and we are personally wrapped up in what happened.
The God of Jesus is our God also. Jesus’ Father is our Father also. Jesus’ death we will share.
But we will all share in His resurrection also.
That personal relationship with God through Jesus is ours to have and enjoy now. We have eternal life as a personal possession.
Close your eyes and hear your name being called by the Lord of Life.You have a wonderful future and that will transform your present.