The Easter Event

“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angles in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

“They asked her, `Woman, why are you crying?’

“`They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, `and I don’t know where they have put him,’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“He asked her, `Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’

“Thinking he was the gardener, she said, `Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’

“Jesus said to her, `Mary.’

“She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, `Rabboni!’ (which means `Teacher’).

“Jesus said, `Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’

“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: `I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20: 11 – 18 NIV)

From the reports from the Gospel accounts we can piece together the events of the morning of Jesus’ resurrection. Mary Magdalene and some other women visited the tomb early on that Sunday morning (the first day of the week) and found the tomb open and empty. Afraid and confused they fled and Mark reports that they told no one. However, while the majority of the woman appeared to have done nothing, Mary reported to the disciples what she had witnessed thus far. Peter and John ran to the tomb; found it empty as Mary had reported; noted the burial clothes and head covering laying separate; and believed that Jesus had arisen. Peter and John left but Mary remained weeping outside the tomb. She looked into the tomb again and saw two angels, one at the head and the other at the foot of where Jesus had lain. They spoke to Mary; she turned and saw Jesus; thinking He was the gardener she spoke to Him; Jesus spoke to Mary; she recognized Him; and Jesus gave her instructions to report again to the Eleven.

There are other details we could consider; but I would like to review some events in Jesus’ life that prepared Him for the resurrection. These events may reveal to us the love relation between Father and Son and may open our eyes to how God works today in our lives. We know that today our heavenly Father and Jesus His Son have sent the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us to carry on the work of Jesus. We know that Jesus lived a life of faith empowered by the Holy Spirit similar to the life of faith He is expecting us to live. There are some events in Jesus life that reveal how God works today in our lives similar to the way He worked in the life of Jesus.

Father constantly, by the Holy Spirit, guided and directed the words and actions of Jesus. Specifically, we will look at the baptism of Jesus, the testing in the wilderness, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the three resurrection occurrences in Jesus’ life.

At His baptism by John, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, He was taken by the Holy Spirit into the desert for the purpose of being tested, or tempted, by the devil. He emerged from this testing empowered by the Holy Spirit and began His ministry. The testing in the desert centered on the words of God the Father, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3: 22b NIV)

These words of the Father were reinforced on the Mount of Transfiguration when the voice of God came from the cloud of glory surrounding the disciples, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (Luke 9: 35b NIV)

Recorded in the first three gospels are two of the incidents of resurrection. The first was the raising of the widow’s son. (See Luke 7: 11 – 17) The second was the raising of Jairus’ daughter. (See Luke 8: 40 – 56) The third incident is recorded only in John; the raising of Lazarus. (See John 11)

The way God works with us that is illustrated by these events is the principle that God speaks to us, tests us, and prepares us. The voice of God to Jesus that happened at His baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration were assurances of His presence and His relationship with Jesus. The testing in the wilderness and the continued testing on the road to the cross are normal occurrences that happen in our lives whenever we hear the voice of God, whether through Scripture or through the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within.

The preparation in Jesus’ life for the resurrection were the incidents of Jesus being shown the power of the resurrection by Father before His own death on the cross. The first was spontaneous as Jesus encountered the funeral procession of the widow’s son. The second involved more time and more requirement of demonstrating authority as Jesus was interrupted during His approach to Jairus’ home and the necessity of putting out the mourners who were already wailing at the death of the child. The third required an even more elaborate listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as Jesus waited after hearing the news of Lazarus’ illness; the confrontation with the sisters, Martha and Mary; and the confrontation of the fact that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days.

Father tested Jesus but He also assured Him that He was able. Basically, what Father had said to Jesus was that if He were able to bring back Lazarus after four days; He would be able to bring back Jesus after three days.