And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why are you crying? who are you looking for? She, believing him to be the gardener, said unto him, Sir, if you have taken him somewhere else him hence, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said unto her, Mary. She turned and said unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus said unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
The last verse I just read from John the 20th chapter tells us why Mary is a Witness of the truth. That is what each of this morning, if not already, from henceforth may be referred to as witnesses. In a court of law I can say under oath that I have seen each and everyone of you and that you were present here today. If needed I could press my memory, I could pull from my memory and say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I saw our musician Brad here this resurrection morning 2013. In order to be a witness I have to have had to either seen and/or heard something. Any thing less than seeing or hearing would be circumstantial at best. Even noted as hear say.
The problem comes when our information or testimony that we give is suspect. The great part of a good testimony is always no matter how it sounds it is indeed factual. It is truth. It is based upon what you have seen or heard. This Sunday morning we are witnesses to the gathering of a Christian community for many many places.
We are witnesses to the power and greatness of God because we are gathered, as the rainbow has any colors, we are represented by every color of human existence. Here today as the lyricist writes in Christ the is no east or west, no north or south only his body, and we who are many are one because of The Lord Jesus Christ.
She has a wonderful dialogue that begins with fear, trepidation, grief and loss. There is confusion because she expects to find the body of Jesus and he is not there. She and any that were with here were perplexed. Their expectation is that they will find a body. They will complete his burial and the grief would and could begin. This is to be the conclusion of the ordeal. The betrayal, arrest, the accusations, the judgement, the possible release, the denial, the beatings, the march up the via Delarosa. The crucifixion at Calvary, the brutality of the cross, His cries and uttering, the death, the claiming of his body, the borrowing of a tomb and finally rest for one Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph and Mary.
But then something else occurs, that is the hope in the message, the good news in our lives that whenever we think or feel the worst has happened, we grow anxious, nervous, perplexed even then, The Lord is able to send a ray of hope. When life leaves us with fear and trepidation, grief and loss, sickness and despair, the human heart finds an encounter with Jesus and we become the witnesses of strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, richness in poverty and an indomitable spirit in the midst of a tragedy. it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we don't where they have laid him. They run to the tomb, look inside see he is gone and they return home.
Mary, still there alone not believing that he was gone, crying stoops down looking into the tomb sees two angels in white, one at the head and one at the foot where Jesus would have been. The angels ask her why is she crying? Because you have taken him and I don't know where. She turns, when she sees that Jesus is not in the tomb, and is asked by the man a question the person who she believed to be the Gardner, "Why are you crying and who are you looking for? She asks him, in return, what have you done with his body? She tells him..let me know where you have laid him and I will go and get him. Just like a little lady, they do have superhuman strength. Most moms do, right?
We like Mary become the witnesses to the power of Jesus' resurrection. Life is not easy so Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians, that we must know Him or experience in in the fellowship of His sufferings so that we may know Him in the power of his resurrection. That's what happened this glorious morning for Mary and this is what we've come to celebrate, that when Mary, and the others reached the tomb he was not there. He had indeed risen from the dead.
We have gathered this morning from all over the world. You are friends of Jesus, you are Mary's friends, you are now witnesses and bearers of the good news, the The Lord has risen indeed. Invitation