After the disheartening days leading up to and including the Crucifixion, according to the Gospel of John 20, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been placed. She found the stone rolled away and was weeping, when she heard a voice asking, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Naturally, she was startled, and it took her a few moments to realize that the speaker was Jesus Christ. She spoke with him, and then she ran to tell the disciples the good news.
When Jesus was with the disciples, he said that he was the Son of God, the Messiah, but many of his countrymen rejected this. They were looking for a new King David, but that wasn’t the kingship that Jesus promised. He promised the kingdom of God within each of us (Luke 17:21).
Even the disciples, walking and talking with Jesus every day for three years, didn’t always understand the message. Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus told his followers that he was going to be crucified and that he would rise from the dead in three days. His followers did not understand him or believe him. So, when he saw Mary after his resurrection, he was asking her, “What did you expect? What were you looking for?” Isn’t this a question for us as we think about the Resurrection?
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, talks about resurrection in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” as “mortal belief yielding to spiritual understanding.” Isn’t this what Mary and the disciples experienced that first Easter? Their preconceptions gave way to a new understanding of Jesus’ mission, which is to show God’s great love for man.
Do we ask ourselves often enough, “Why are you mourning? What is it you are looking for? Or, who is it you are looking for?” Are we looking for good in specific material forms? Or, are we seeking to find good in the presence of spiritual, deathless qualities, such as unselfishness and love? I think that if we open our thinking to what God has planned for us, we can experience, in some degree, a glimpse of the Resurrection.
In an Easter letter, written in 1910 and included in “First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany,” Baker Eddy wrote, “This glad Easter witnesses a risen savior, a higher human sense of life and love, which wipes away tears” This Easter season, let us dry our tears and leave our human searching to find a more spiritual understanding of Christ and his mission. Let us feel this comfort and find the risen Christ.
Celia Nygard is a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist.