Let’s set the scene for today’s verse. We’re in the garden where Jesus of Nazareth was buried after he was crucified on the cross 3 days ago. Women came to visit the tomb that morning where he was buried and found it was empty, the stone has been rolled away, and the guards are stunned. The women shared the news with Jesus’ disciples and Jesus’ 2 best friends wasted no time in checking out what had happened, and then returning to report to the other disciples. But one of the women, Mary, remains behind in the garden. She is approached by a man, who she believes is a gardener, but finds out it’s actually the risen Jesus. Here’s where we pick up the story:
“”Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” John 20:17
What just happened? Well, Jesus was dead, he rose from the grave and before going back to heaven stopped at the garden to see Mary. Yes, I said before. Jesus couldn’t wait to tell his friends, those he loved, that he was risen. He revealed himself to Mary, someone who passionately believed in and trusted him.
This is the whole story of Jesus’ life wrapped up in one verse of the Bible. Jesus came to earth just so that he could live, die and rise again, because he loves us SO much. His love for us, for you, is like the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning when they first see the presents beneath the tree. There is a lot more to the story of Jesus, but the most important thing to know is that his whole purpose, the whole reason he came to earth and we are celebrating Easter on Sunday, is because Jesus loves you passionately, completely, eternally. And he can’t wait to tell you the good news of the amazing future he has prepared for you in heaven.
This Easter I encourage you to open your arms and heart wide to the love that Jesus has for you.