Lesson: John 20:1-18
Last weekend they ran a story on NPR saying this is the season of press releases announcing which coveted speakers will appear at college and university commencements this spring. The big question, though, was not who would speak, but whether anyone would remember what they said. A college president interviewed on the segment said it’s like remembering the sermon that the preacher gives at your wedding. People are just thinking about other things. That’s certainly been my experience with weddings, and it’s a bit like that on Easter, as well. Whoa, is there a lot going on this morning! The children’s choir, the bells, the trumpet, the drum, “Frozen,” the Hallelujah Chorus. An egg hunt, a Maypole. And whatever else you have going on later today. The college president mentioned one commencement speaker who actually said, “I am going to tell you a couple of startling things today and I promise that you will forget them.” The college president’s advice to commencement speakers is to say something funny, perhaps quote Scrooge McDuck, and then get in and out fast enough so that even if they remember nothing about the speech, the audience can say, “At least he was brief.” Well, I googled Scrooge McDuck and he doesn’t seem to have anything to say about Easter. But I will be brief, and I promise you I’ll tell you a couple of startling things.
John’s Easter story begins in the early morning darkness. It’s Sunday, and Mary Magdalene goes to tomb where she knows the body of the crucified Jesus was laid to rest on Friday. When she sees the tomb is empty, she concludes the obvious. Someone has stolen the body. What else could it be? She runs to tell Peter and the other disciple, and they run to the tomb to confirm what Mary told them. The unnamed disciple “believes” but we aren’t told what he believes. John explains that the disciples don’t yet understand the scripture, so they just turn around and head home. Apparently all they believe at this point is that Jesus’ body is missing. Read more →