“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,” (Luke 24:6, AV). These words from the sacred pages of Scripture contain within them the simple fact that gives basis for the celebration or holiday taking place today, commonly known as Easter. John describes in the 20th chapter of the gospel that bears his name the curiosity and wonder that filled the heart of Mary Magdalene, along with the women who accompanied her, per Luke’s account. These women were the first on the scene to witness that the tomb where the body of Christ had lain was now empty. They in turn shared their discovery with Peter and John who ran to the tomb and also took note of its emptiness, the stone at the entry having been rolled away. Peter and John would also note that the grave garments were just lying there and the cloth that covered Jesus’ face was neatly folded and placed in another area of the tomb apart from the clothes. Initially, neither the women nor the men understood the full import of this event. The truth is that they lacked understanding. John observed the following: “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:9, AV)
The events early on the morning of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, with John’s accounting of their having been lacking in understanding, remind us that we can be in relationship with Christ while not fully comprehending the dynamics of all that is going on around us. The only thing any of them knew was that the tomb was empty. It wasn’t until they were enlightened by Christ, did they understand that a miracle took place—in this case the miracle of the resurrection. Mary Magdalene had panicked assuming Christ’s body had been stolen, and the disciples were dumbfounded, not having a clue as to what had actually happened. The good news is that shortly, Jesus would reveal Himself to both the women and the men. Mary walked straight into Jesus, per the Johannine text’s account, shortly after reaching out to the disciples with the information of the empty tomb. The disciples would receive a visit from Jesus later on Easter evening while they were locked away behind closed doors.
May Easter Sunday amid crises this year remind each of us that in due time, the presence of the resurrected Christ will be revealed along with His purposes. The reality of Easter manifested in the risen Savior should quell all panic and disable the ability of mystery and unanswered questions to create a disconcerted mindset that diminishes our faith. He lives! Hold on to His Word and His promises. In due time, the resurrected Christ will manifest His glory!
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.