This post is part two of a series on the resurrection. We will explore it through the eyes of the three most important participants in the Easter account of the Apostles John. Here is the text:
“Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away 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.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.” John 20:1-4
Some of us respond to the resurrection with simple faith.
A look at the resurrection from three different faces.
First, the beloved disciple whom Jesus loved. What a great title, the disciple whom Jesus loved. He’s never actually named, but we would believe from a tradition that it’s the Apostle John. When Jesus met with his inner circle, it was Peter, James, and John.
When they’re sitting at the Last Supper, John is right next to Jesus and can whisper, “Who is it that will betray you?” When Jesus dies on that cross, everyone flees, but according to this Gospel, that beloved disciple was still there at his feet. And it was to this disciple that Jesus gave the word from the cross, “Take my mother home with you. Let her be your mother; you be her son.” He was close to Jesus. He saw and witnessed the entire experience.
Now we hear that he’s in a foot race with Peter. Maybe because he’s younger, he beats Peter to the tomb when they hear the incredible news from Mary that the tomb is empty. They’re racing to the tomb to see about this. John gets there first. So he was fit, but he was quicker in more ways than just feet. He was quicker of faith.
When the beloved disciple got to the tomb He did not go in, he just looked, and he saw the linen cloth depressed down like a cocoon emptied. He saw the headpiece here, and he paused to reflect on that.
Then Simon Peter came rushing up and rushed right on past into the tomb. And then the beloved disciple entered as well and saw. It simply says that he saw and he believed. Isn’t that wonderful? He didn’t have to have a lot of proof. Unlike doubting Thomas, he did not have to thrust his hand into Jesus’ side or put his fingers into the holes. He didn’t have to see Jesus walk through walls. He didn’t have to have anything. He just saw that little bit, and he believed.
An ideal disciple is this beloved one. It doesn’t take much to nudge him to faith. No, he did not come thinking that Jesus was raised, but when he got there, it did not take much. You just had to announce it, just whisper it out of an empty tomb. No angels yet, and he believes.
You are here, aren’t you, beloved disciple? Men and women, old and young, some of you are here. And you believe like this disciple believes. Your faith doesn’t take much effort; you cannot even remember a time that you did not believe passionately in Christ. When the Holy Spirit worked that miracle of faith in your life, you just walked across the stream at its narrowest point. Even though it’s always a spiritual event when a person becomes a Christian, for you, it seemed almost natural. You don’t struggle with your faith. And you come face to face with the resurrection of Jesus and your heart is exploding with Easter joy. The chorus of alleluias and chants of He is risen. He is risen indeed is dripping from your lips. And you struggle to understand why anybody would have doubts about that. For you, the resurrection is something you just find simple to believe.
Now, make no mistake about it. People who believe like this are not over simplifying things nor are they naive. They have not lost touch with the real world. God has given them an incredible gift, the kind of faith to move mountains. They are blessed and are a tremendous blessing to the Church. In times of crisis that unwavering faith is inspiring. At the grave of a loved one that kind of faith provides confidence in the very power and love of God. For those who struggle or are dealing with crippling grief, that kind of faith points us back to the cross and the hope of the empty tomb. That kind of faith centers us on the promises of God and reminds us great is God’s faithfulness. Thank God for those with that kind of faith.
The faces of the beloved disciples are present as we explore the power of the Easter Resurrection. So many faithful followers approach the resurrection full of faith and confident bliss. Jesus has a message for you. Run your race, keep your eyes focused on Jesus Christ the author and perfecter of your faith, for great is your reward in heaven.
The rest of the Story: