Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Resurreciton Deviotion - John 20:1-8

John and Peter. John 20:1-8
NIV John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
It was dark and empty, a black hole in the earth. The tomb was empty. Jesus body had been there, yet now it was gone. The burial cloths were there and the head cloth, but the body was no where to be seen. John looked a Peter. Peter was standing with his head in his hands, weeping, and muttering some kind of curse on the High Priest’s goons. “… how could they do this!” he whispered. John’s head swam. He knew Jesus was dead. He saw Jesus’ cringes of pain when the soldiers drove the nails into his flesh. He heard the painful scream. His heart ached as his master gasped for breath when the cross was raised and set into place. He stood at the foot of the dying man, and knew that it was all over. Everything Jesus had done, every word he spoke, every sick body he healed, every tormented soul he had touched, they all hung there dying with him. Jesus knew it too. He could see the forsaken look in his eyes. Then, the execution abruptly ended. “It is finished!” Jesus gasped, and he was gone. It all ended so quickly. John was amazed at how quickly life left those who died. At one moment a living being, then next instant, like the blink of an eye, there was only a lifeless shell. The soldiers looked up, he had died much to soon for their taste. They preferred the punishments to last for days. Lingering death made lasting impressions. But, Jesus was dead all that remained was grief. For John the next days turned the grief to fear. Fear that the pain Jesus had suffered was going to come to him. Now after hearing of the empty tomb, he and Peter stood in the darkness of the tomb. Peter had collapsed to his knees. John struggled to make sense of it all, he searched his memory trying to remember what Jesus had said. He remembered how often he had spoken of death. He remembered how he had spoken of his own death. So much of what was spoken had happened, almost as if Jesus himself was directing it. The arrest, the trial, the crucifixion, and even his death, seemed to proceed from a plan. It came to him in an instant. He looked at the head cloth folded neatly, as if it was purposely placed to catch his attention. The empty tomb suddenly seemed important. It was suddenly more important than any other place he had ever been. Somehow, Jesus missing body was the key. The tomb was empty. The body was gone. Jesus had somehow taken the power away from death. Death was empty. He looked at Peter. Had he seen it too? But, Peter only sobbed the grief of crucifixion had returned to him. For John, the grief was gone. The fear he had felt only moments earlier evaporated. He felt as if Jesus himself were standing there with them again. “But, that can’t be, he’s dead.” He said to himself. Even as he spoke it, it seemed to John to be untrue. John reached out his hand and helped Peter from the floor. “It’s ok, Peter.” He said. Peter was heavy, resisting his help. Finally he stood and the two of them left together. As they left, John couldn’t help looking back. The tomb was empty. (John 1:1-5)

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