Easter DayEaster Day: Resurrection

Like the day of Jesus’ death, the day of resurrection is described by the Gospels in detail, both to verify that it happened and to explain the meaning that the first Christians took from it.

Although Christian worship tends to celebrate this day as a joyful culmination, in which everything about Jesus was made clear, the original day is described in the Gospels as confusing and disturbing. Its full import wouldn’t become clear until the risen Christ appeared to his disciples and explained events to them.

When women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body for burial, they found the stone moved away from the mouth of the tomb and no body inside. Instead there was an angel who told them to pass the word to the disciples, “He has been raised from the dead,” and to tell them to proceed to Galilee, where the risen Christ would appear to them.

John’s Gospel has the poignant scene at the tomb when Mary Magdalene meets the risen Lord, mistakes him for a gardener, and then recognizes him. They exchange brief and tender words, with Jesus telling 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.' "

Easter worship typically is the most festive of the entire year. “Alleluia!” returns to the liturgy after being absent during Lent, flowers and white vestments return, and some of the Church’s finest music is performed on Easter Day.

Copyright © 2007 Tom Ehrich