I never cease to be fascinated by St John’s account of the resurrection of our Lord. There is no attempt at proof, just one man’s version of what had happened. The details are so graphic that it can only be told by someone who was there.
First, John remembers that Mary Magdalene came to him and Peter early on Sunday morning, just before dawn. She had been to the tomb. Obviously she could not sleep. Sorrow can induce one of the worst forms of insomnia. Not that it would do any good but that is where she wanted to be. On arrival, at the tomb she made what must have been a terrifying discovery, the tomb was open and the body was gone. Her immediate thought was that the body was stolen. At this point she hurried back to tell the sad news to Peter and John.
Next John remembers how he and Peter ran to the tomb, with John getting there first and he stood there looking into the tomb trying to figure out what had happened. Then Peter arrived and typical of him, he went straight into the tomb and John followed him. Mary was right, the tomb was empty and there was nothing there except the cloths that were around the body of Jesus. The robbery theory somehow did not hold water.
At this point, John, speaking of himself says “He saw and believed.” This would seem to suggest that he was the first to have faith in the resurrection. Standing there in that empty tomb he arrived at the conclusion that Jesus had risen from the dead. His faith was again confirmed and restored. That is what you and I need this Easter Sunday morning, not simply to believe in the resurrection but to have our faith in Jesus and the things in which he stands for renewed. This world has a way playing havoc with the principles in which we try to believe. It is difficult to have faith in Christ in the kind of rat race that modern life represents. Everything that he stands for gets shoved aside, trampled on, crucified almost every day that we live. Let’s face it – most of the time we are afraid to really trust him in case we make a fool of ourselves in the process. He talked about loving our enemies, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile. Where is the place for that kind of thing in this kind of world? The only thing that applies here is the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest. This is a dog eat dog kind of world and those who do not face that fact either get run over or left behind.
Let’s be honest, isn’t that how we really think most of time. This world did to Jesus the very worst it could do. It rejected his truth and nailed him to a cross but on the third day he overcame it all, even death. John saw and believed. That is what you and I need this Easter Sunday – a renewal of our faith. Fr John