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John 20:1-19 (English Version)

Message 1

It is the story of the day on which the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It was the first day of the week according to the reckoning of the Old Testament and it is the last day of the week (Sunday) referring to our contemporary practice. The place is the grave where our Lord was buried. The tomb was a sepulcher unlike the tombs of our day. It is a kind of house with a hole /entrance at the top. The first person to come to the grave yard was Mary the Magdalene. She came before day break. But what she found, she couldn’t believe. Her expectation had been to find the body inside the sepulcher and anoint it with spices. The fact that she came to anoint the body demonstrates her total disbelief of the resurrection of Jesus which He had proclaimed before His death.


As she arrived at the sepulcher, she found it open and with two strange beings at the feet and at the head of where Jesus had been placed. She was extremely touched by the absence of Jesus’ body and began to weep profusely. She is not weeping because she missed Jesus, but rather because she couldn’t find the body (corpse). She was solely interested in revering (honoring) Jesus by properly handling His body. She did not have a shred of expectation as to His resurrection. Now she continued to weep overlooking the angels and the garments with which Jesus had been wrapped up. The angels then asked her what she was weeping for. Her answer was indicative of her inner expectation. That she was in no mood of expecting to see the living Christ. She did not stop weeping and crying.  She was then challenged again by Jesus whom she mistook for a gardener. He asked her <Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?> He knew she was looking for the wrong person. She was not looking for the risen Lord but for a body that had to be reverently placed in its burial place. For Jesus her weeping and crying was a wrongly placed investment, a total deception on the part of Mary. It is like someone who expects to find the Dergue inside Asmara while it has been years since the removal of the Dergue. To Jesus, Mary was just expending and wasting her energy.  She had got it all wrong. When we read the account of Mark 16:9-11, we see that even the disciples who stayed at home were weeping and grieving. They all forgot what Jesus had repeatedly told them of His persecution, death and resurrection. They had a totally gloomy picture of the end of the life of Jesus. Theirs was far, far from the actual fact. They had created their own fact which was totally based on forgetfulness and desperation. But matter-of-factly, Jesus was risen. And that same Jesus is asking Mary Magdalene the question, <Woman why are you weeping?> His question is one of amazement. He was totally amazed at why Mary was weeping because of baseless information she had in mind.

Today we may have many things to grieve about. We may even be weeping having thought that Jesus has done nothing for our situation and His resurrection can never be an answer to our woes. We weep continuously like Mary while Jesus has risen in our lives with His power of resurrection and every thing has been taken care of.

It is not because the Lord has not done His task in our lives. It is because of our lack of understanding, because our minds have been closed. The problem of Mary and the disciples was their dark minds which forgot what Jesus had said earlier regarding His resurrection.  Even if they found the tomb empty, they could not believe their eyes. They had shelved Jesus in the category/ class of the dead. But He was not to be found among the dead. He was risen. Our lack of understanding can not change God’s truth. The truth remains firm. It is solid and cannot be shaken or altered.

When were the disciples convinced that Jesus was risen?
Their lack of understanding was lifted from their minds when Jesus opened the eyes of their hearts.  We find this in Lk: 24:45. Their minds were opened to understand the scriptures.

What we need today is the opening of our minds. Everything has been accomplished for us. Jesus has paid it all and has given us His provisions. Nothing can be added. God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect (Rom:12:2). But what has hindered us from grabbing what has been given to us and making full use of it? It is the lack of renewal of our minds. Paul advised the Ephesians to be renewed in the spirit of their minds (Eph:4:23). Why? Because the mind is the passage of life. It is through the renewed mind that we receive life and peace (Rom:8:6).  Even at our second birth, we were saved for the Son of God gave us understanding (1Jn: 5: 20).

In the Old Testament the Lord God lamented the blindness and deafness of His servant. In Is:42:18-20 <Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see! Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the Lord? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.> It is not the physical eyes and ears that matter. But the inner eyes and ears. But without these, the servant of the Lord was so pitiful.

Today we need renewed/ transformed minds above anything else so that we may see the riches of God’s glory. Paul invited the Colossians to look at the right hand of God where Christ has been seated (Col:3:1-3). Without open minds, we cannot behold the treasures of above. That is the panacea (medicine) to every ailment we find in our lives. No wonder the Devil is wrestling to blind our inner sight. He has subdued the unbelievers with that age-old strategy (2Cor: 4: 4).