What can I say about Easter Sunday that hasn’t been said already?
Truly, what is there left to discuss?
Christ rose from the dead! The tomb was empty, the stone rolled back, an angel of the Lord sitting in his stead, the shroud crumpled on the floor.
You all know the story.
No one believed He rose from the dead, then He appeared in the midst of the disciples and they all fell to their knees in shock and adoration.
The story is an old one. A good one, obviously, but still – what can I say?
I’d like to draw your attention to Mary Magdalene.
Mary of Magdala. What a beautiful story here.
She is barely mentioned in the Gospels, though all four do mention her. She is barely mentioned and yet she is always present. She became a close friend to Jesus and to His mother, Mary. She stayed at the foot of the Cross even when most others fled. She was there the morning of the Resurrection, the first to notice the tomb was empty except for an angel or group of angels.
She is barely mentioned, yet is the first person to know Jesus rose again. Out of all the people who could have been chosen to deliver the news, she was chosen. Why? Who is this woman?
Mary Magdalene is typically connected to the prostitute whom Jesus saves from a stoning in Luke chapter 7. Her name is never connected with this prostitute, but it is usually said that the woman is Mary. Others say she is the woman whom Jesus cleanses from multiple demons, also in Luke. Still others connected her to any number of other women mentioned in the Gospels.
Who is she?
While this uncertainty may baffle readers and irritate scholars, I think it’s beautiful.
Whether she was possessed, prostituted, sick, a sinner, or whether she was a simple Jewish woman who happened to become close friends with Christ, the point is that no one knows. Her past is her past, and she became a new woman in Christ’s presence.
Oh, glorious words. She became a new woman in Christ’s presence.
Christ does not condemn her past. He so forgave her that he even chose her to deliver the Easter proclamation to the disciples.
Christ’s rising from the dead brings us hope. Joy. Grace. Thanksgiving.
It reminds us that good will always come out of something dark, something sorrowful.
The struggle ends. Redemption wins. Remember my mantra, Jesus I trust in You.
Your Son’s death, Lord, is painful. I trust in You. I trust in You. This is all we can say on days like Good Friday.
And on Easter, we can sing and shout with joy that our God is alive, and our relationship with Him is thriving, built on trust.
We can become new creations in Christ’s presence.
New creations. “Behold I am making all things new!” Those things are us. He is making us new.
Our pasts do not matter when we place them next to the Cross. When we come to the foot of the Cross and lay down who we are, who we’ve become, our pasts and trials and the sins that tempt and plague us…when we lay these things down, Grace drips down with His Most Precious Blood, and washes us clean.
Mary Magdalene, whomever she was and whatever she did, was made new.
He is making us new.
A common symbol of Easter is a chick, hatching from an egg. While this is adorable and endearing, it’s crucial to remember that this symbol points to the idea of new life. But what is the best symbol for new life other than the Cross? Yes, life is made new every day, with the birth of all creatures God has placed on this earth, little chicks included.
But I’m talking about eternal life here. Death cannot claim us, not now that we have new life – eternal life – in Christ.
Death has no power against us, Hell will not claim us, evil is renounced, sin is washed away.
As Mary Magdalene was made new, we have been made new.
That is cause for celebration.
Jesus returned, like He promised. Jesus saved us, like He promised.
Everything is new. Everything is alive. Everything is well.
Easter is the time to celebrate the new, the alive, the well.
But again, you knew that. Same old song and dance, so what else can I say?
Prayers of thanksgiving for the gift of Easter, the gift God presented to us in the skin of His Son, whose love for us knows no bounds – not even bounds of death.