Do you remember when? John: 20:1-29

Everything changes

The tone of John’s gospel takes on a sudden shift at the beginning of chapter 20. Chapter 19 concludes with the hurried burial arrangements for Jesus’ body, ‘since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.’ John 19:42 Chapter 20 opens with Mary Magdalene’s grief-stricken visit to Jesus’ tomb. It was her first possible chance, she couldn’t visit on the Sabbath and so before sunrise she made her way to Jesus’ grave. There then follows a series of events that are so unexpected that it becomes difficult to describe the emotions that flood out of the disciples. Awestruck, wonder, confusion, belief and disbelief, mystery, weeping, love, joy, passion and deep peace are words and phrases that describe the heady mix of responses felt by Jesus’ followers as the reality of Jesus’ physical resurrection sinks in.

However, the significance of his resurrection is far more than friends reunited. It has profound personal, global and eternal consequences. The deep personal consequences are summed up by Paul, ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sister. And those he predestined, he also called, he also justified, those he justified, he also glorified.’ Romans 8:28-30 Jesus’ resurrection opened the way for his followers to be adopted children of God. Jesus’ resurrection heralds the future resurrection of all who have believed in him. ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits, then when he comes, those who belong to him. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Christ’s resurrection demonstrates his supremacy over the church and all things. ‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. Colossians 1:17-18 Have you taken time to reflect on the breadth of consequences the resurrection of Jesus has for you personally and the whole of humanity?