Explore this Easter Sunday scripture anew

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
1. What do you notice about the story just as it is written? Try to separate yourself from all you have been taught and see it as it stands.
2. What questions arise? What feelings do you have? What touches you?

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Sartain
Executive Minister

About PlymouthSpirit

Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. We are spiritual, loving, relevant and transforming.
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One Response to Explore this Easter Sunday scripture anew

  1. Lisa says:

    In trying to separate myelf from all I have been taught, I guess if I were to be reading this for the first time it would be hard to believe that someone could be dead and then their body could come back to life after a few days. I have heard of people dying or near death experiences coming back to life but those usually come back within a shorter amount of time. That is looking at the story literally. I do believe in life after death and that Jesus died and went to heaven.

    One detail in the story I never noticed before is that the cloth covering Jesus’ head was rolled up in a place by itself, not with the linen wrappings. Like special care had been taken with the cloth, not just tossed aside. I wonder why this detail is in the story and what meaning it has.

    I am imagining Mary’s excitement when she realizes it is Jesus that is standing in front of her and that he is alive. I also imagine her sadness when tells her not to hold onto him because he has not yet ascended to the father. She knows he is here in the flesh now but not for long. It seems like a rollercoaster of emotions.

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