Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 31st March 2024: Easter Day 2024

John 20 Easter Mary Magdalene Resurrection Peter Jesus

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 20


The Resurrection of Jesus

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 towards 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.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

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 round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ 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.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


As Christians we are on a journey of faith, navigating a personal quest. There are times when we come to a halt, perhaps through illness or the death of a loved one; then at other times, perhaps at our Confirmation or the birth of a child, our faith increases. We might get bogged down over a piece of theology, eg The Trinity (God is One, but also Three) or joyfully accept the Incarnation (that God became a baby), and our faith deepens immeasurably. But we should remember we are all called to be part of the Easter community that have heard the call of our Lord and respond with joy, wherever we are on our journey of faith, for he has rescued us from sin and offered eternal life.

Jesus had taught his followers that he was the Good Shepherd, and that He "calls his own sheep by name". Hold on to this thought as we look at today's reading. Mary Magdalen has been at the foot of the cross and watched as Jesus died, and saw him buried. After the sabbath she comes to the tomb and finding the stone rolled away, she assumes that someone has stolen the body. She doesn't believe Jesus has risen. When the two disciples arrive the beloved disciple 'saw and believed', but there is still little reason to believe in the Resurrection, for we learn the two just go home!

When Mary looks into the tomb she encounters two angels, but neither this nor the appearance of a man she takes to be the gardener changes things. She only recognises Jesus, when he says her name! Mary's heart and mind are now ready for the possibility that Jesus has risen. Only Mary is open to the call at this stage. Her faith becomes so strong that she immediately goes to the disciples to announce "I have seen the Lord!"

The risen Jesus calls each of us frequently by the name that is so personal to each of us, but we have to be prepared to listen and like Mary, to act.


Lord Jesus, Risen Christ,
You call each of us by name.
May we hear that call
whether it comes through prayer,
through study of the scriptures,
through worship -
or in some other way.
May we also respond with joy,
and be ready to commit to whatever
task You assign to us.

Follow Up Thoughts

If like many of us you find it difficult to understand the truth and the meaning of the Easter story, this article from a history channel is pretty good:

If you just want to be joyful today you could listen to these hymns, and think about their words:

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