John 20:11-18. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for 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.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
What Jesus says to Mary on Easter Sunday in the garden is remarkable – Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Jesus’ place was with God. He had to go back to the Father. I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.
Your Father. Your God.
Christian, because of our union with Christ our place is now with God. With our Father. All because of the resurrection. Our destiny is not to stay in the grave, but to rise and ascend to the Father. To perfect love and perfect holiness. Our place is with God is the truth that changes everything. It’s the final truth of Holy Week that allows us to experience Holy Week in our hearts each and every day in reverse:
Our place with God lets us live in our Silent Saturday. To not just endure the suffering and sorrow of this life but to endure with power and hope. To endure knowing that we are being conformed into the Crucified Christ. The resurrection turns our Saturday from hiding into going – going into all the world to preach the good news.
Our place with God lets us embrace the sacrificial love of Good Friday. We can give up everything in this life because we know we will gain everything when we are united to the Father in glory. The resurrection makes us living sacrifices for all the world to see.
Our place with God allows us to love the command of Maundy Thursday. The command given at the table to love one another as Christ has loved us with a love that is more powerful than death. The resurrection makes loving others this way plausible. No fear of rejection, nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
Our place with God empowers us to pour out our lives for Christ as Mary did on Spy Wednesday. To turn our greatest treasure over to Jesus, even our hearts. The resurrection makes this level of commitment our “reasonable service” (Rom. 12:2).
Our place with God moves out into the world with the authority of God’s truth backing us up. The authority Christ gave to us on Holy Tuesday. The authority he commissioned us with when he sent us out. The resurrection is ultimate Truth now living in us, and the Truth in you gives you the right to speak that truth regardless of who will respond or how they will respond.
Our place with God demands the same purity of the Temple that Jesus demanded on Holy Monday. The resurrection gives to us Christ’ imputed holiness. Now his holiness is the identity that we both ARE and are BECOMING.
Our place with God lets our hearts long for the victorious return of our Savior-King as on Palm Sunday. The resurrection of Christ is the first-fruits of our own resurrection. God claiming his own. His children. Christ’s bride. Living with him forever.
God, our place is with you. God return for your people. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.