Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In John 20, Mary Magdalene was first to see the empty tomb and the risen Lord. Early Sunday morning when she went to the grave site, someone had opened the tomb. She hurried to tell Peter and John and they ran to see what had happened. They found the burial clothes in the tomb but no body. Peter and Mary were mystified, but John saw and believed.
The men left and Mary stayed at the tomb weeping. A man she thought was the gardener asked, “Why are you crying?” and Mary recognized him as Jesus.
That evening, Jesus showed up where the disciples were gathered and said, “Peace be with you.” Thomas, who was absent, doubted their report. A week later, Jesus showed up again and said to Thomas, “Touch the nail scars on my hands and the wound in my side. You too can believe.” Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus said, “You are blessed because you have seen and believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Thus begins the story of Jesus’ new life, and the new life of Christianity. Mary and Peter were mystified, struggling to understand what it meant. Thomas was doubtful and unbelieving, wanting more evidence. Only John came quickly and decisively to believe what had happened.
Jesus, when Peter saw your empty tomb, he didn’t know what to make of it. When you spoke to Mary, she thought you were the gardener. When Thomas heard the news, he said, “I won’t believe unless I see for myself.”
And here we are 2,000 years later, mystified like Mary and doubtful like Thomas. Though we have not seen you, we have heard you call our name. You speak to us through the stories in scripture, you call us in the quiet of our hearts, you whisper our name by your Spirit, you are present with us in the community of Christians.
Jesus, we feel the weight of our modern western religion. A closed universe with no room for God. An evolutionary story with no room for miracles. A morality of independence and freedom, with little space for goodness and virtue. A scientific explanation for everything, with no place for mystery. O Jesus, this modern religion is shrivelled and cramped.
We look again to you. We see with Mary the empty tomb. We believe with John that life has invaded the stronghold of death. We touch with Thomas the nail scarred hands that point us to a new way of life. We believe with Peter that God’s kingdom has come to our time and space.
Jesus, you share your kingdom with us, in all its mystery and faith and hope and love. Though we have not seen you, we love you, and though we do not see you now, we believe in you, and we rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.