I am notorious for my packing when we go on holiday. I don’t take new things, I take old things – toiletries with very little left in, even clothes that are worn out – not because I’m a cheapskate, but because those things don’t have to be brought back. That gives us less weight – and more opportunity to bring back things we might want to.
I kind of think Easter is like that. We all have things in our lives that would be better not being. Easter is the opportunity to leave those things behind, to leave them at the foot of the cross, or buried in the tomb, whichever you prefer – to make room in our lives for all the good things God brings us.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9Very early on the first day of the week, after Jesus had risen to life, he appeared to Mary Magdalene. Earlier he had forced seven demons out of her. 10She left and told his friends, who were crying and mourning. 11Even though they heard that Jesus was alive and that Mary had seen him, they would not believe it.
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12Later, Jesus appeared in another form to two disciples, as they were on their way out of the city. 13But when these disciples told what had happened, the others would not believe.
What Jesus’ Followers Must Do
14Afterwards, Jesus appeared to his eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them because they were too stubborn to believe the ones who had seen him after he had been raised to life. 15Then he told them:
Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. 16Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe me will be condemned. 17Everyone who believes me will be able to do wonderful things. By using my name they will force out demons, and they will speak new languages. 18They will handle snakes and will drink poison and not be hurt. They will also heal sick people by placing their hands on them.
Jesus Returns to Heaven
19After the Lord Jesus had said these things to the disciples, he was taken back up to heaven where he sat down at the right side of God.
Mary is crying. Jesus comes to her. He brings her comfort and hope – he is alive, it was all true.
She, in her turn, passes the message on to the other disciples who also need to know. So hard to believe, but Jesus is there with them too.
Jesus meets them in their need, their fear, their confusion – and he takes that, and in it’s place gives comfort, hope, and the new thing God is doing. Now they can see just how different it is. But it is not just to be spectacular, but to give people a new way to be. The past with it twists and turns, misunderstandings, failures and going the wrong way no longer need have any effect. Jesus’ resurrection changes all that. It can be left behind in the place of death, as we walk in Jesus’ way of new life.
Thank you Lord for new life –
your new life,
and the new life you give me.
Thank you that the things of the past are done,
and you lead us in God’s new way