The Gospel accounts of Jesus resurrection are told from different points of view with each author seeking to draw out specific issues and theological significance from the events. This is exactly what you would expect from four different authors reporting on the same event and we see the same effect in the press today.
However, this Easter, I have been struck by a phrase which occurs in three out of the four Gospels (Luke is the exception).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. (John 20:17, 18)
The command that Jesus gives to Mary in John’s Gospel, that she should go and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen is repeated in Mark and Matthew (though some of the details differ).
The temptation would have been to stay at the tomb rejoicing, laughing, dancing, having a party… But though the resurrection is amazing – the most amazing event in history – our responsibility is not simply to enjoy it, we have to go and tell.
Within a few short weeks, the command to go and tell the disciples in Jerusalem was superseded by a commission to tell people across the whole world about Jesus and what he had done.
Two thousand years later, the job still isn’t finished, there are still millions of people around the world who have not heard about Jesus, his death and resurrection. The call to go and tell, first given to Mary in the Garden and repeated to the disciples on the mount of ascension is our call today.
Are we going to stay by the tomb rejoicing at our risen saviour, or are we going out into the world to proclaim Him?