In the Christian world, we love the stories in the Bible. We believe they are true. That they really happened. In the Christian world, there’s also a lot we don’t like to talk about. Emotions are one of them. We love talking about spiritual health, and we’re even ok with physical health but when it comes to our emotions, sometimes we like to pretend they aren’t there.
It probably stems from the fact that we believe we aren’t supposed to be driven or ruled by our emotions. And this is true. But ignoring our emotions and our emotional health is an extremely unhealthy position to take. I’ve learned a lot about emotions and emotional health over the last year – mainly by firsthand experience. Going through hellish circumstances can do that to a person. But “emotional health” is a much broader topic than should be dealt with on Easter Sunday.
So, back to the stories in the Bible – namely the “Easter Story” as we often title it. The verses in the Bible on which we, as Christians, base our entire celebration of this beautiful Sunday. This story is accounted for in all four Gospels but let’s look at the one in John chapter 20. I’ll be looking at this story from The Passion Translation. It’s a newer version that translates from Greek and Aramaic texts. After being a Bible reader for over 30 years, I have really enjoyed the fresh perspective of TPT. You can purchase it HERE.
Alrighty, here we go…
There are such a variety of emotions on the morning that Jesus rose from the dead so many centuries ago. And I love that the Scriptures share with us the normality of those people that we sometimes can only can grasp as Bible characters and heroes.
The first person on the scene in John 20:1 is Mary Magdalene. It’s early in the morning as she makes her way to the tomb. She is so moved by the fact that the tomb is empty that she RUNS to go tell everyone. A grown woman running for the excitement of the situation! She didn’t try to hide her excitement and ‘be a lady’ – she is freaked out, excited and needs to let someone know what she has seen… or hasn’t seen.
When Mary lets the disciples know what she has found, they too, run for the excitement of it all. Can you imagine seeing grown men running by your window – ones not wearing running clothes? As they reach the tomb (vs. 5) they don’t go inside but just take a little peek. Scared much? Like tiptoeing around a house that you’ve heard a noise in, I picture them doing the same. They want to know what they will find in there but… they also don’t.
Then in verse 8, John gets brave and goes into the tomb! Overcoming his fear, he actually is hit with belief! It’s like everything he’s ever heard from the Scriptures and everything Jesus ever said, now makes perfect sense… THIS is THAT. Overwhelming, I’m sure!
But Peter evidently doesn’t have the same experience and is puzzled (vs 10). He and John leave and go back to their homes. John, full of belief and Peter, puzzled.
Finally Mary gets back at the tomb and she’s a wreck, “broken and sobbing,” verse 11 tells us. She decides to take a peek and peers inside, through her tears she sees two angels! Can you imagine? I’d totally wipe the tears out of my eyes a hundred times before believing what I was seeing. Then she begins having a conversation with these heavenly beings. I can’t imagine what she was feeling inside at this point.
All of the sudden, Jesus shows up. Only Mary doesn’t know that it’s Him. Assuming it’s the gardener (think cemetery work crew), she tells Him she’s crying because the body of Jesus is gone and she wants to know why and where. But then… He speaks her name. I can imagine her about to look at that ‘gardner’ and ask how He knows her name but as she turns to look at Him, their eyes meet and she realizes. She realizes THIS is HIM… her friend and her Savior and she runs to Him. But Jesus has to back away (vs 17) and let’s her know that she can’t touch Him – because of things she probably doesn’t understand at this point.
Then we find Mary going back to the disciples to tell them what has just happened. She has SEEN HIM!
Just eighteen verses to describe this scenario. Eighteen verses jam-packed with emotion. Various emotions. Extreme emotions. I think this story is one we can celebrate and one we can learn from. When life hits you hard – whether it be amazing and exciting or terrifying and horrible – emotions are our God-given response and release.
As we celebrate Easter today, may we fully embrace our emotional response to life. Not letting emotions rule us but never denying them. Now, excuse me while I go ponder what Jesus truly did so many years ago… THAT my friends, is positively overwhelming!