(From John 20, NIV)
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.
Before dawn, still in darkness. The tomb is already empty, but for Mary and the disciples, it’s still dark. They’re still grieving, lost.
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!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
Running. Confusion, fear, panic. Still not knowing what was going on.
He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
John saw and believed. He did not yet understand, and I don’t know exactly what he is believing at this point based on what he was seeing. Hope mingles with bewilderment. The sky lightens with the first light of the dawn.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
Mary does not yet grasp what’s happening. I don’t think I would either, in the circumstances. After all, whoever heard of a dead man coming back to life before?
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
The sun rises above the horizon. It is now day. The man who was dead on Friday, with a spear thrust in his side and through his heart, is now revealed as alive.
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
Do the disciples believe her? John believes, but doesn’t understand. After all, she’s just a woman. But there’s a glow on her face that wasn’t there before. An unbounded joy that can’t be suppressed. And she says she’s seen the Lord.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
What do we do now? After everything that’s happened, the enormity of it all is overwhelming. Easier to go back to what we know, to the kind of life we used to live. Let’s go fishing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Jesus has done this before. Miraculous catches of fish are a familiar part of hanging out with him.
As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
I’ve always loved the image of Jesus cooking over a campfire on the beach. “Come and eat” he invites us.
An empty tomb, then breakfast on the beach.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.