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Easter - John 20.1-18

4 April 2021

Reflection by Revd. Tim Bradshaw


This passage stands in stark contrast to the Gospel Lectionary reading used in the Sunday Service, Mark 16:1-8, which ends: So [the women] went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.’

How many opposites can you find in the two passages?

For me, the difference is that in John it is not fear and uncertainty, but disbelief.  Mary recognised, but she could not believe that it was her Lord.  Maybe, as in the picture, the light was behind him and she could not see his face.  Whatever the reason, the resurrected Christ is not always what we expect.

I remember standing in a queue outside a cinema in Bristol, waiting to get in.  There were several us together, and the conversation was about whether we would recognise Jesus if he was here today?  I remember thinking that Jesus could have been any one of us in the queue.  We could not be sure of who, irrespective of race, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, cultural background, social status, etc., because the queue was very mixed.

Where would we meet the risen Christ today?  How would we recognise him?  How could we be certain that it was him?

The setting of John 20:1-18 is ‘the garden’.  This raises two questions that we might consider:

  1. If we have a garden, them might we meet the risen Christ in our garden today?
  2. What about those who do not have a garden – are people who live in a flat, or in the city centre unlikely to meet Christ?

Ask yourself, where do you find it easiest to feel Christ’s presence?

Finally, having thought about that, consider how you might enable yourself to recognise Christ’s presence in unsuspected or unlikely places?





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