Easter Sunrise 2023

John 20:1-18
20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.


Title: Encountering the Risen Christ

Text: John 20:1-18 (New Revised Standard Version)


Dear brothers and sisters, on this glorious Easter Sunday, we gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In our passage today, the gospel writer John shares a moving account of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ. As we reflect on this transformative moment, let us consider how the resurrection shapes our lives and renews our faith.

I. The Empty Tomb (John 20:1-9)

Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb in the dark hours of the morning, her heart heavy with grief. She finds the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, and she runs to share the news with Peter and the other disciple. They too come to see the empty tomb, and as they examine the burial cloths, they begin to understand what has happened. Jesus, who was crucified and laid to rest, is no longer there.

This empty tomb signifies the triumph of life over death. It is a reminder that in the midst of our darkest moments, God’s power prevails. As believers, we can take comfort in the knowledge that our God is alive and active in our lives, even when it seems like all hope is lost.

II. Encountering the Risen Christ (John 20:10-16)

While the disciples return to their homes, Mary Magdalene remains at the tomb, weeping. It is here that she encounters the risen Christ, though she does not recognize him at first. She mistakes him for the gardener until he calls her by name, and suddenly her eyes are opened.

How often do we, like Mary, fail to recognize the presence of Christ in our lives? It is easy to become so consumed by our pain and confusion that we miss the ways in which God is working in our midst. But when we open our hearts and listen for the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit, we too can encounter the living Christ who knows us intimately and calls us by name.

III. Proclaiming the Good News (John 20:17-18)

Jesus instructs Mary not to cling to him, but rather to go and share the good news with the other disciples. Mary obeys and becomes the first witness of the resurrection, proclaiming, “I have seen the Lord!”

As followers of Christ, we are called to be witnesses of his resurrection as well. We are not meant to keep this life-transforming news to ourselves but to share it with others. Through our words and actions, we can testify to the power of the risen Christ and the hope that he brings.


On this Easter Sunday, let us remember that we serve a living God who has triumphed over death and darkness. In the face of uncertainty and pain, let us be open to encountering the risen Christ in our own lives. And as we experience the transforming power of his resurrection, may we be bold in proclaiming the good news to those around us.

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

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