John 20:1-18 New International Reader's Version
The Tomb Is Empty
20 Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. 2So she ran to Simon Peter and another disciple, the one Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb! We don’t know where they have put him!”
3So Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4Both of them were running. The other disciple ran faster than Peter. He reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there. But he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came along behind him. He went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there. 7He also saw the funeral cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place. It was separate from the linen. 8The disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. 9They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she cried, she bent over to look into the tomb. 12She saw two angels dressed in white. They were seated where Jesus’ body had been. One of them was where Jesus’ head had been laid. The other sat where his feet had been placed.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said. “I don’t know where they have put him.” 14Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. So she said, “Sir, did you carry him away? Tell me where you put him. Then I will go and get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him. Then she cried out in the Aramaic language, “Rabboni!” Rabboni means Teacher.
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me. I have not yet ascended to the Father. Instead, go to those who believe in me. Tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news. She said, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Empty plastic Easter egg
Today’s the day! How exciting is it to know that today is the day? Let’s begin by telling everyone in this space some good news. On the count of three, lets’ shout out, “Jesus is alive!” Ready? One, two, three, “Jesus is alive!”
This is such an important message to share with the world! To be honest, it’s the most important message ever to be told! The Bible tells us that after Jesus died on the cross, a woman named Mary went to the tomb where they had put Jesus’ body. This wasn’t Jesus’ mother, Mary, but another woman with the same name. Jesus was a good friend of Mary’s, so she felt very sad that he was dead. Can you make a sad face to show how she might have felt? (Allow children to demonstrate.) This sad story doesn’t end here. Something amazing happened while Mary was at the tomb. She met Jesus himself! God had raised Jesus from the dead, and now he was alive! Now, how do you think Mary felt? Show me the amazed expression on your face. (Allow children to demonstrate.) Those faces certainly show how surprised and incredibly happy Mary was to discover her friend Jesus was alive. Mary wanted to tell everyone the message that Jesus was alive. She ran, as excited and as fast as she could, to tell the disciples this most important news.
I have an Easter egg here in my hand. Can you guess what might be inside? (Allow children to guess.) Those are all good guesses, so let’s find out what is in the egg. (Build excitement and open the egg to reveal that it is empty inside. Notice the children’s reactions.) The egg is empty. I wonder what you think of when you see an empty Easter egg. (Allow children to respond.) That’s right, the egg is empty, just as the tomb was empty when Mary arrived. This empty egg reminds us that Jesus wasn’t still in the tomb. Jesus was alive!
I wonder what might have happened had Mary never told anyone the good news about Jesus. Show on your face how you would feel if no one ever told you about Jesus. (Allow children to demonstrate their expressions.) Because we do know and love Jesus, we can live with him forever in heaven. That’s why telling others the good news that Jesus is alive, just as Mary did, is so important. Mary shared the good news of Easter that Jesus was alive. How can you share with others that good news? (Allow children to respond.)
(For the closing prayer, choose one of these two options).
Immediately after our prayer this morning, let’s practice telling others the good news of Easter. Let’s all stand and turn to tell this entire room that Jesus is alive. Stand up with me and together let’s tell one another as loudly as we can, “Jesus is alive!”
Let’s practice telling others the good news of Easter. Let’s find one other person in this room and go to that person and ask, “Have you heard the good news?” That person will respond with, “What good news?” “Jesus is alive!”
God of Easter, we give you thanks for the gift of new life and of the good news of the Resurrection. Help us to experience the newness and joy that come from the Risen Jesus. Amen.
Now let’s tell someone else the good news of Easter!