T h i s _W e e k ' s _S e r m o n

“Magdalene Announced it First”
John 20: 11-18

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and 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. 13They 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.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus 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.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus 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.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.  John 20: 11-18

ertrand Russell, the famous atheist, wrote in 1925, “I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my own ego will survive.” Russell clearly bordered on the morose, yet all of us have wondered, with perhaps more cheery optimism, what will happen to us when we die.

One of the many teachings that make Jesus unique among religious leaders is his theological views concerning death. Throughout the ages, political and religious leaders have met with all manner of untimely death: assassination, execution. They have died in fear of death and saw it as a final failure.  But Jesus willingly gave himself to death. Jesus’ crucif