“The Blind See”

March 31, 2013
Easter Sunrise Service John 20:1-18 For weeks, months, even years, Jesus had been dropping hints. Oh, who’s kidding, Jesus often came out and told his followers flat out, that he was going to die, be buried, and in three days rise from the dead. And in all the times that Jesus told them… they didn’t get it. When Jesus died, their hopes, their dreams, their futures all died with him. Many of them headed home. The fishermen went back to their boats. They simply assumed that, with Jesus dead, as painful as it was, they had to move forward, they had to do something, they had to get on with their lives. But not everyone left. Several of the women remembered that there was still work to do. Jesus had been buried in a hurry so that the tomb could be closed before sunset on Friday, before the Sabbath day started with the setting of the sun. In the rush to bury him, there was no time for niceties. No one had taken the time to prepare his body as was usually done by the family and friends of the deceased. On Sunday morning, after the Sabbath had ended with the rising of the sun, work could again be done. And so, Mary Magdalene set out, before the sun rose, to do what must be done, to do what duty, and friendship, demanded. (John 20:1-18) Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
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So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
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Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
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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.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
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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.”
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Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 1

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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.’”
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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. The Disciples didn’t get it. And then there was Mary. She had come to the tomb to do what needed to be done. She looks Jesus in the face, her friend, a man she had known, and walked with, and shared life with for years. She looks him in the eye, and she hears his voice, and still… she thinks that he is the gardener (sigh). But when Jesus says her name… the illusion is shattered. When Jesus says her name the blindness falls from her eyes and she sees… really sees. Jesus sends Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples the good news, that Jesus was dead but is now alive again. And they don’t believe her. The disciples run and see the tomb for themselves and even when they see it, even when they are confronted by its barren emptiness, they still don’t believe it. It is not until they see Jesus for themselves, not until they hear his voice and feel his touch, and, for Thomas, not until he touches the Jesus’ wounds with his own hands, that they really see. Jesus is alive! Mary was blind, but once the blindness left her, she could see the truth. The disciples were blind, but the blindness fell away and they could see the truth. As followers of Jesus Christ we too, are to share the Good News. Jesus was dead, but is alive again, now and forever more. Many will not believe. They are blind to the truth. But others will hear his voice and feel his presence. If we are faithful, if we, like Mary, tell the world the Good News… …the blind will see.

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You have been reading a message presented at Trinity United Methodist Church on the date noted at the top of the first page. Rev. John Partridge is the pastor at Trinity of Perry heights in Massillon, Ohio. Duplication of this message is a part of our Media ministry, if you have received a blessing in this way, we would love to hear from you. Letters and donations in support of the Media ministry or any of our other projects may be sent to Trinity United Methodist Church, 3757 Lincoln Way E., Massillon, Ohio 44646. These messages are available to any interested persons regardless of membership. You may subscribe to these messages, in print or electronic formats, by writing to the address noted, or by contacting us at subscribe@trinityperryheights.org. If you have questions, you can ask them in our discussion forum on Facebook (search for Pastor John Online). These messages can also be found online at http://www.scribd.com/Pastor John Partridge. All Scripture references are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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