Day 39 (Good Friday – April 19, 2019)


John 20:1-10

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.


Despite the testimony of women being treated as secondary in first century Judaism, women were the first witnesses of the empty tomb. In John 19:39-41, we read that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had buried Jesus’ body according to Jewish custom, wrapping it in linen cloths spiced with a mixture of myrrh and aloes. It was a new tomb and fulfilled what Isaiah prophesied, his tomb was with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).

Focusing our attention on one of the women, Mary of Magdala (there was more than one, so we in verse 2), John records the events of the first day of the week. Seeing the stone had been removed from the tomb and doubtless fearing Jesus’ body had been desecrated, she raced to tell Peter and John.

John’s witness is important. Outrunning Peter he was not the first to enter the tomb: Peter was. Both saw the linen wrappings lying there and the linen cloth that had been around Jesus’ head… rolled up in another place. The evidence was clear: human hands had not removed the body. John saw and believed: Jesus had gone to be with God the Father as he had said (John 14:2-4). However, neither yet understood what Jesus meant when he said they would see him again, physically risen from the dead.

Like John, we may believe that Jesus has gone to be with God, but we find the idea of a physical resurrection impossible to grasp. Christianity teaches the unity of body and spirit. One day God’s people will be raised physically, having a body fit for the new heaven and new earth.


Grant, Lord, that as we have been baptized into the death of your dear Son our Savior Jesus Christ, so by continually putting to death our sinful desires we may die to sin and be buried with him, and that through the grave and gate of death we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his sake who died and was buried and rose again for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, Easter Eve – adapted)

Daily Reading Plan

Read John 20:1-18