The Joy That Invades Our Hearts

A Bible devotion for Easter Sunday

By Elizabeth Sherrill, Hingham, Massachusetts

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He is not here; for he has risen…—Matthew 28:6

Only a week had passed since that triumphant Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem—but what a difference in the little procession that set out now! No cheering crowds, no waving branches. Just a few silent women setting out in the gray dawn to perform the last sad rites at the tomb.

The day that changed human history was not a public occasion but a private one. The day when everlasting life broke into earthly time began not with celebration but with tears.

This is still the way Easter breaks into our lives—when we least expect it, when all seems lost. That’s when the stone rolls away and the angel speaks and “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54)

If it seems too good to be true, this joy that invades our hearts, it seemed so on the first Easter morning too. Mary Magdalene could not believe what her eyes were telling her; she took Jesus to be a gardener at work early among the graves. Preoccupied with her loss, she barely glanced at the figure standing before her on the path. She had a mournful task to fulfill and—

“Mary.”

There in the first light of dawn, Mary stood still. That voice…that tone of loving involvement. This was the moment, the moment when Jesus called her by name, that Easter broke like the sunrise into her heart. It is how we recognize Him still. The risen Jesus calls us so personally, comes into our lives to individually, that with Mary Magdalene, we cry out in glad recognition.

And then we do what the women did on that first Easter Sunday. Dropping their spices and ointments, the burdens of their sad errand, they rushed to tell the others. They set the pattern, these women who were first at the empty tomb, the two-fold pattern of the Christian faith newborn that Easter morning. They met the living Jesus. And they brought the good news to those who grieved.

That’s always our role, when it’s Easter in our lives; to tell someone else that He is risen.

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