Isaiah 25: 6-9 (page 586 in our pew Bibles). Isaiah prophesies a time of huge joy when God swallows up death forever and all tears are wiped away.
Acts 10: 34-43 (page 919 in our pew Bibles). Peter details the facts of the good news of Jesus' death resurrection and many appearances to witnesses, who ate and drank with him.
John 20: 1-18 (page 906 in our pew Bibles). A beautiful and touching account of Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Jesus but mistaking him for the gardener. The point of recognition comes when Jesus addresses Mary by name.
Christ is Risen!
This is the cornerstone of our faith.
All the tens of thousands of churches, the New Testament, modern history and art as we know it today – none of it would exist at all if it wasn’t for that one central basic belief.
Christ is risen.
In that one little phrase all the hopes and joys contained in the words of Isaiah that God would one day swallow up death for ever and wipe away all our tears come to fruition.
These are massive concepts but they all happen on the very human scale. They have to because Jesus was fully human.
The pain and suffering he had to go through was very real. His body was whipped and beaten, bruised, pierced and killed.
His tomb was visited by a some women and a couple of the twelve disciples.
Nothing was immediately apparent. The enormity of what happened unfolded bit by bit before them and in John’s gospel the full majesty of what had taken place is revealed initially to just one woman, Mary Magdalene in the garden.
Overcome by grief that her friend had been cruelly killed, and apparently even his body had been stolen, a man appears before her and asks her why she is crying?
She, knowing that Jesus is dead, and peering through her tear stained eyes, doesn’t recognize Jesus at all. In fact she thinks he might be the one who might have taken the body.
The point where she recognizes Jesus is the point at which he mentions her name.
“Mary” and on hearing her name the scales must have fallen from her eyes and the joy rose in her heart.
Eventually she ran to the rest of the disciples with the simple message,
“I have seen the Lord”
Christianity is a very human, personal faith. It doesn’t become real and active in our hearts because we learn it in a book or even at church. It doesn’t become real and effective in our hearts until we hear our own names on the lips of Jesus.
Christianity becomes true for us when we can say with our own mouth, reflecting what has happened in our hearts that “Jesus is risen”
And Jesus is my Lord.