EASTER SUNDAY: April 12, 2020
Reference text: John 20:1-9
Two characters in our Gospel today, John and Peter present to us different perspectives of how Christians interact with God. If we pictured the tomb and linen clothes as the point of interaction with Jesus, we first encounter John. As the younger of the two, being more agile than Peter, outrun him to reach the tomb first. But he only bent down to look inside not daring to go in. On comes Peter who went straight into the tomb and saw something else before John did, ‘the head napkin rolled up in place away from the linen cloths.
John represents those Christians who prefer to interact with God from a distance. Even though the tomb stone was clearly rolled, at first glance they ask themselves’ is it okay to go in?’ They wonder if it is alright to dare to draw closer and think bending down to see is enough. Such people operate on the principle of ‘just enough’ and have to be pulled along by the faith and actions of others to draw closer to God.
Peter however represents those Christians who are not happy with standing from a distance. Perhaps his age came with experience because he dashed straight into the tomb for an up close encounter. He sought to be intimate with God because not only did he also acknowledged that the stone had indeed already been rolled, he realised that there was no barrier to getting up close and personal with Jesus. With that came his discovery of the head covering rolled up in place.
So I ask you: which kind of Christian are you? Do you belong with John or Peter? Are you distant or up close and personal with God? We realise that at some point, John also entered the tomb ‘saw and believed’ – that was a transition to greater intimacy. So don’t stand away from the centre of the action, don’t leave without personally experiencing God. Don’t watch from a distance because hope, faith and love are more evident in God’s proximity. Get in there since there are no barriers and you need not be afraid because you’re already expected.