Easter is more than a story. It’s history. Because history is about real people, places, and things, which are exactly what we find in John’s gospel. Just look at the real people from real places that we meet on the day Jesus rose from the dead—“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved” (John 20:1,2).
First, there’s Mary from the town of Magdala (that’s what Magdalene means). Then there’s Peter, a fisherman from Bethsaida, six miles northeast of Capernaum, who was courageous (and impulsive) enough to sprint straight into the tomb, even though grave robbers were rumored to have snatched Jesus’ body. And then there’s John—the “other disciple.” John must have been one of those quiet competitive types, because he later mentions how he whooped Peter in the first Easter 5k and made it to the tomb first. Mary, Peter, and John were real people.
Which is really good news. It means that Easter was about real people back then and is for real people even now. Real people like you and me who find joy in talking today to the living Jesus and who will one day run through our own tombs into eternal life. Thank God that Easter is history, a real event that really blesses real people!