Gospel of John 20: 11-18 (NIV)
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.
15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
On the morning of that “first day of the week” several people visited the empty tomb but, initially, Jesus appeared only to Mary. Later in the day he was to appear to Cleopas and his travelling companion (Luke 24: 13-35), to Peter and then to the group of gathered disciples (Luke 24: 36-49).
None really expected to encounter Jesus in the ways that they did. None was ready for him. His calming and comforting remarks to Mary were just as necessary when he met others; in the upper room, his first words to his disciples were “Peace be with you” (Luke 24: 36).
Having identified himself to Mary and having tried to ease her considerable, and understandable, apprehension, Jesus had a task for her. The woman who had arrived at the tomb with spices to prepare a body for burial (Matthew 28: 1; Mark 16: 1; Luke 24: 1) was to “go … and tell” that he had risen!
“Go, and tell.” And Mary did. She went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”.
Jesus has the same task for us: “Go … and tell”. He is risen! Death could not hold him! Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, crucified, dead and buried is living – and this for a purpose that has been central to God’s plan since the very beginning: to bring the hope of new life, in Christ, to every man, woman and child.
“Go and tell,” said Jesus. We are not to be intimidated! We are not to hold back this news! The news that first Easter brought and that every subsequent commemoration of Easter brings is the best news this world could receive. We are commissioned like Mary Magdalene to “Go and tell”. Will you go and tell what Easter means to you?