Easter reflection

Easter Reflection by Revd Sue McCoan 

Bible reading: Mark 16:1-8

I have here three eggs – eggs because it’s Easter. These are not chocolate eggs, so don’t get excited. We’re going to use them to reflect on the Easter story.

We’re starting earlier in holy week, because Easter only really makes sense when you look at what leads up to it.

During the daytime, in holy week, Jesus was a very public figure. His dramatic entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which we celebrated last week, and his clearing out of the Temple traders, made sure everyone knew he was around, and after that he spent each day at the Temple, in the centre of Jerusalem, teaching and preaching openly to all who would listen.

But in the evenings, he withdrew to a quieter place, to be with friends. He probably stayed with Mary and Martha most of that week – they lived in Bethany, a couple of miles from the city, with their brother Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  

Mary had a jar of expensive perfume, oil of pure nard, worth about a year’s wages, which she was probably saving for a funeral, maybe even her own. 

When Jesus came to stay, Mary fetched the jar of perfume – sealed in a clay jar – took it to Jesus and broke open the jar so that the oil poured out over his feet. The scent of the perfume filled the house. 

Break first egg

But all that oil! All used in one go! It cost a fortune! What outrageous extravagance! And what, some thought, what a colossal waste! There is the oil, poured out and used up… and there is the flask, broken and worthless, to be thrown away.

This wasteful extravagance was too much for Judas. It was after this anointing that he went to the chief priests and negotiated his betrayal of Jesus.

We move forward now in Holy Week, to Good Friday. Jesus has been betrayed, arrested, put through a travesty of a trial and condemned to death. Beaten and bruised, he is made to carry his own cross through the streets of the city, out through the city gate, to the hill called Golgotha, the place of the skull. 

For the soldiers, this is all in a day’s work. Jesus is just one criminal among many, deserving, in their eyes, the same rough treatment. Maybe more, because this one, this Jesus, set himself up as some sort of king. So much for that.

They strip his clothes – this is the ultimate humiliation – and crucify him. And while he dies in agony, they roll dice to win his robe.

The beautiful body of Jesus is torn, bleeding and nailed to the cross.

Break second egg.

His life blood is poured out, his breath is poured out and used up. 

What outrageous extravagance. The life of a man, brutally ended before his time. What a colossal waste. And as he breathes his last, his body is left nailed up, broken and worthless. It takes others to lift the body down and give him a decent burial.

How could God let this happen? How could anyone think this was a king? How could anyone think this was the Son of God?

If our story ended on Good Friday, we would still have a teacher and healer; we would honour him as a martyr, and live our lives as best we can. But this is not the end.

The body of Jesus was sealed into a rock tomb, as was the custom. Joseph of Arimathea donated the tomb he had bought for himself, and the women who knew Jesus watched the burial, so there was no mistaking which tomb it was. And then, as it was Sabbath Eve, they went home. There was no more they could do, no more they were allowed to do, for the whole of the following day. 

But as soon as they could, as soon as it was light after the Sabbath, those women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, went to the tomb to anoint the body, to pay their last respects. They came in sorrow and grief, mourning the loss of their dear friend. 

As they made their way to the hill, they wondered how they would move the heavy stone that sealed the tomb. To their horror, they saw it had already been rolled away, and the body of Jesus was gone. A young man in white spoke to the women and told them, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, is not here; he has been raised.’

Break third egg

The tomb, the stone tomb, is broken open by the power of God, and the risen Jesus breaks forth into the world in a whole new way.  The risen Jesus is no longer bound by space and time; the spirit of Jesus is now poured out into the world. 

Poured out – but not used up. 

The spirit of Jesus continues to pour out, bringing new life and hope and joy for anyone who wants to receive it.

What outrageous extravagance! That God should love the world so much, that he sent his only Son, so that whoever believes in him might not die but have eternal life.

This is outrageous, extravagant love on God’s part. But not a colossal waste. God did this regardless of whether or not any of us responded. It’s only a waste for us if we choose not to accept the gift. 

And the empty tomb is just that. Empty. Presumable Joseph of Arimathea could use it again. No waste there either.


Jesus left behind the tomb when he started on his risen life. 

We will shortly be sharing in communion together, remembering all that God has done for us, and all that Jesus gave to us. To prepare ourselves for communion, let’s pause, and offer to God all those parts of ourselves and our lives, our hurts and our sins, our faults and our failings, that we too might like to leave behind at the foot of the cross, or sealed in the tomb.


Lord, in your gracious love, take from us all that holds us back from life;

Help us to accept your forgiveness, and to embrace the new life that Easter brings. 

We ask this in the name of Jesus,