Love lives! Although, based on how the Gospel According to John treats the resurrection, maybe I should just say, “Love lives, duh.” Of course Jesus is alive.
It begins with Peter and the other disciple who, while confused at first, take a moment in the tomb and suddenly realize what just happened. The whole thing clicks, they realize the Scriptures say that Jesus must rise from the dead, and then John casually writes that they went home.
Then you have the two angels in the tomb who do not understand why Mary is crying over the missing body. Even Jesus is rather nonchalant about the whole thing as he approaches the weeping Mary. Like the angels he opens with, “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Then he follows it up with. “Who are you looking for?” It is as if the answer, at least from love’s perspective, is obvious. But that is the catch. It is from love’s perspective, and love’s perspective does not come naturally in a world that operates according to power.
Think of the two disciples who were at the tomb that morning. Yes, they casually went home, but they also frantically ran to the tomb when Mary Magdalene first reported it empty. We know that one of them, Peter, was part of Jesus’ inner circle. The other, whom many scholars believe to be John, is also thought to be the beloved disciple. You cannot get much closer to Jesus than that. That means for three years these two men saw everything Jesus did and heard everything he said. Yet it was not until they stood there in the tomb and saw the folded-up burial garments that everything clicked.
The two disciples coming to understand the resurrection at the site of the garments is no slight to Mary. After all, they had three years of being right there in the midst of it all. The only thing the Bible tells us about Mary Magdalene is that she became part of the broader community around Jesus after he drove seven demons from her (Luke 8). Her only other appearance in each of the four Gospel accounts comes at the crucifixion and resurrection. In John, she appears out of nowhere, standing with the mother of Jesus as she watches her son die.
It should be no surprise that she did not expect Jesus to be alive. Neither should you nor I, after all, we are not used to seeing love win. But then Jesus says her name, “Mary!” Suddenly, everything changes. And that is John’s point when it comes to Easter. While John’s understanding of Good Friday rejects the notion that God is anything other than unending love and faithfulness, Easter boldly declares that love takes power’s best shot, and keeps loving as if nothing happened. But in a world bent on power, seeing things from love’s perspective is anything but natural.
Some of us do not believe it until we see it. For others, we need to hear Jesus call us by name. But whenever it happens, however it happens, once we see the way of love, there is no turning back.
So here is to Easter becoming obvious to you, so you too can say, “Of course love lives.”