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A sight for sore eyes

Sam Askew

He surely was a sight for sore eyes to Mary. She had arrived at the tomb where the body of Jesus had been placed and found the stone had been removed from the entrance. With alarm she ran to Simon Peter and John with the news: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him.” John 20:2b

The two disciples ran to investigate. They looked into the tomb and saw strips of the burial linen lying there. There was also the cloth that had been placed around Jesus’ head. It was set aside and folded neatly. Surely this was perplexing to them. They affirmed that indeed the body of Jesus was missing, and they returned home.

Mary remained at the tomb and wept. Looking into the tomb again this time she saw two angels seated where the body of Jesus had been placed. This was unexpected as was their question to her: “Woman, why are you crying?” Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him.” (John 20:13-14)

Mary turned around and standing behind her was Jesus. She did not recognize him immediately. Mary supposed the man was the gardener who having heard of her distress had also arrived to investigate the situation. She said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” (John 20:15) Then, Jesus spoke her name and Mary recognized him. He was a sight for her sore eyes.

Easter is not simply the recognition of the empty tomb. The empty tomb was of no comfort to the disciples, neither was the empty tomb a comfort to Mary. We know that angels serve as the messengers that relay to God the needs of individuals. The two angels ask about the pain Mary is feeling. They can offer no comfort, but the message was received, and God responded. Jesus appeared where and when he was needed. Mary turns to see that Jesus had been behind her and he is not dead. The Lord is risen!

The importance of Easter is not to help prepare us for death. The empty tomb prepares us to live dependent upon the great length to which God will go to bring hope and comfort to those who call upon him. As persons with resurrection faith, we do not live in despair; we are people of victory. We build arks and see the rainbow. We wander in deserts and arrive at the promised land. We stand at the tomb and see the risen Lord. We live, serve and find comfort in the God of possibilities.

The apostle Paul testified, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Roman 8:37-39)

The strife is over for the battle against evil is done. We can meet the challenges of life because our Lord is standing behind us. He has our back. Is he not a sight for our sore eyes?

Your servant in Christ Jesus,

Pastor Sam

SAM ASKEW is the pastor of Windsor Congregational Christian Church. Contact him at 242-4794.