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Week 3 April 2023, Devotion Part 1

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early… John 20:1

We have our Easter down pat. Could there be an unexplored twist to it? Might the story itself serve up some sort of Easter ham? Does it offer a retrospective on Eden? Can Adam and Eve’s descendants finally have a kosher conversation?

John, the gospel writer, is the “Easter ham.” Watch him show off his competitive nature as he describes the race to the empty tomb. “Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple [John] outran Peter and reached the tomb first…Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed…” While all this “me first” male strutting is going on, the female lead in the unfolding drama quietly slips into place. Mary stands weeping outside the tomb. What compels her to stick around? (Part 1 of 2)

Comment: To Salome and Zebedee they probably were just Jimmy and Johnny, their cute little boys happily splashing around in the shallow waters of Lake Galilee. When Jesus invited the two brothers - tall and burly now - to leave their father’s business to become fishers of men, he nicknamed them “sons of thunder.” Thanks to Luke, we are getting a taste of their volatile disposition. On His final journey to Jerusalem, a village in Samaria refused to receive Jesus. James and John promptly offered to “command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them.” He rebuked them instantly and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man came not to destroy people’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:51-56).

“Anger Management” was not in vogue then, so it’s left to us to figure out from John’s own words how the destructive aspects of his nature were handled by His Lord. Fast forward to His final Passover meal with the disciples, when a “troubled in spirit” Jesus announced that one of them was going to betray Him that night. “His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which one of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him, Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask him which one he means’” This same John, the “disciple…whom he loved,” was asked by the dying Jesus on the cross, to take care of His mother. When their risen Lord cooked breakfast for them on the beach, “then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord…’” After Jesus had lovingly restored and freshly commissioned him, “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is going to betray you?’”) “Love Management” doesn’t pack the macho punch of “Anger Management,” but the stormy spirits of today’s thunder fellows might gladly yield to the grace lavished on them by the “Son of Man” at work in our home, church, and community. (John 13:21-25; 19:26-27; 21:7; 21:20)


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