Gospel Jn 20:1-9

“They ran together …”

Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on Easter Morning, 1898.

Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on Easter Morning, 1898


Peter and John had witnessed some pretty incredible things in the three or so years that preceded the events of the past few days. This Jesus, that man from Nazareth, had burst into their lives and set them on a new and different path – something exciting had taken hold of them and had deepened their awareness of reality. But the events of the past few days had seen things come crashing down around them. What they knew to be an unshakable foundation had seemingly been rocked. The events of Good Friday would have rattled them to the very core of their being – had they lost all hope?

We can imagine the scene.

It is Sunday. One can imagine the crisp morning air. The grass covered in dew. Motivation levels low. Confusion reigning. An overwhelming sense of deep, deep sorrow. And then, this message from their dear friend, Mary of Magdala. Immediately they set out.

They run. Desperate to see what had unfolded, they couldn’t get there fast enough. Dare they hold out hope for something miraculous?

They run together, but John being younger and obviously fitter got there ahead of Peter. He reached the tomb, but there was given pause – perhaps acknowledging the sacredness of this moment – of this place. But Peter, true to form, reaches the tomb and barrels forward, entering the sepulchre. Seeing evidence of the resurrection.

He, like us, struggled to believe the testimony given to him by Mary. He was not content to live as though the event of Jesus could be merely a memory. He had to experience the Risen Christ for himself. He had to be ‘seized anew’ by this most ‘overwhelming fact of human history’ (PMO, 4).

His honest intensity at which they set out to verify the fact of the resurrection (captured beautifully by Burnand) needs to be our own.