Easter Sunday 2009
And when the sabbath day was over, Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so they could go and embalm him. And very early on the first day of the week they got to the tomb just as the sun was coming up. And they had been asking themselves, "Who will help us roll the stone away from the opening of the tomb?" Then they look up and discover that the stone has been rolled away! (For in fact the stone was very large.)Mark 16:1-8, SV
And when they went into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, wearing a white robe, and they grew apprehensive.
He says to them, "Don't be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He was raised, he is not here! Look at the spot where they put him! But go and tell his disciples, including 'Rock,' he is going ahead of you to Galilee! There you will see him, just as he told you."
And once they got outside, they ran away from the tomb, because great fear and excitement got the better of them. And they didn't breathe a word of it to anyone: talk about terrified. . .
The canonical gospels agree on one point about that morning after the Sabbath: the empty tomb. They don't agree on what happened next. Mark doesn't even mention it, ending with the terrified women running from the empty place of death. Matthew has Jesus speak to his disciples in a final "Great Commission." The last words of the Gospel are Jesus speaking. What comes after that is the next story, but what Jesus does is unsaid. Luke has Jesus appear first to otherwise unknown disciples, who don't recognize him, and then he vanishes when they do. He appears again, in the middle of the disciples, but he has hands to touch, and he eats their food, proving he is not a ghost. Luke's Jesus ascends into heaven, not once, but twice, at the end of the gospel, and at the beginning of Acts. John's Jesus appears to Mary at the tomb, as a gardener, then in a locked room of disciples, but this time with wounds that can be probed; and finally on the lakeshore, grilling and eating fish with Peter and the others. About the resurrection, they all agree: the tomb was empty. What the resurrection means, they left largely to Paul, who had already worked that out before the first of the canonicals was written. What the resurrection was, none of them can quite agree.
25:6 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
25:7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
25:8 Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.
25:9 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
118:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
118:2 Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever."
118:14 The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.
118:15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;
118:16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly."
118:17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
118:18 The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.
118:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
118:20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.
118:21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
118:23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand,
15:2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you--unless you have come to believe in vain.
15:3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,
15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,
15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
15:8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them--though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.