First, there is Mary Magdalene. She is first to arrive at the tomb and she sees how the stone in front of the tomb had been rolled away. But what does she do? She starts running. Not that she believes at this point, that comes later, but in the darkness of the morning, she begins running back to tell the rest of the disciples that Jesus’ body is gone (20:1).
But as she is sprinting back, she meets Peter and the one who is called the beloved disciple. She tells them what she had seen, or didn’t see, and then they break out into a run.
Mary is running away from the tomb, but now Peter and the beloved disciple are running to the tomb.
John says that these two disciples didn’t just run together, they ran against each other. In fact, they get into some sort of footrace, sprinting – one gaining on the other, and then other falling behind and gaining again – but toward what?
Some scholars suggest that there was some kind of rivalry between Peter and the beloved disciple. John says that it is Peter who is the leader of the disciples, the one who is ready to speak up on most occasions, but that it was the beloved disciple, whoever he was, maybe John himself, who seemed closet to Jesus’ heart.
Whatever the case, they ran to see who would arrive first.
Yet, surely, there is something within them telling them that, in this strange moment, they are running toward some new, some different possibility, a future that was arriving faster than they were running. Can you imagine running toward something like that?
Easter is that moment when we find ourselves running! Yes, we run to and from all kinds of things, but on Easter we run toward Christ, toward the One who meets us in unexpected ways, just long enough to surprise and slow us down, toward the One who wants to call us by name and greet us with a new hello!
Pastor Andy Kinsey