Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (John 20:1)
Why the first day of the week? Did Christians move the Sabbath Day to Sunday from Saturday? Why is Sunday more important than Saturday to Christians? Well, let's look at creation. Saturday is the day of rest that God took after creation. He rested on the last day, and he established the week. This example sets the stage for all of human life. We must rest from our labors. This is not only loving our God by respecting his Sabbath but loving our neighbors by not forcing them to work too hard, by giving them breaks in life. By giving them decompression. This is a good commandment to have.
What is significant about the first day of the week in creation? The beginning of creation! The day where there was nothing but darkness and void, and then God said, "Let there be light!" and creation officially began! This is important to Christians, because Jesus' resurrection signifies the beginning of a new creation. Paul tells us that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ came out of the tomb with a new body, like the old one but imperishable. Like the old one but impermeable. Like the old one but indestructible. This is the significance of the first day of the week--new creation begins. This is the moment when Christ shows us what the new creation looks like, and this is the moment in which new creation is begun in all who believe in him. Christ breathes his Holy Spirit on the apostles. Christ stays with his disciples for forty days, no longer speaking to them in parables but intensely coaching them on the nature of reality, the reality of the new creation.
Christ had driven seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. She was already changed by Jesus. But she still reveals that she is not yet a new creation when she repeats that someone has taken the Lord's body and she doesn't know where it is. When she faces Jesus himself, she assumes him to be the gardener, and she asks for Christ's body from him. Then Jesus reveals himself to her, the first revelation of the new creation, and thus begins the forty days of education about the reality of things. Now, no one gets a new, imperishable body while still living life on earth, but the Christian life is one of internal change. The new body will come, but in the meantime the spirit of the believer is being changed to accommodate the new body. New Creation is happening inside to meet the new creation that will happen outside.
This new creation is a work of God alone. We cannot change ourselves. God must do it. The stone is rolled away before Mary arrives, even though she came early. God has already done his work. In her unbelief, she thinks that Jesus' body has been taken away. When the disciples leave the area, she stays and weeps for a dead Christ. Then angels reveal themselves to her, and she still doesn't believe. Christ then approaches her, and she mistakes his identity, still not believing. It is only when Jesus calls her by name that she wakes up to the reality that is happening. The interior change begins. Before, he cast out the demons to prepare the soil, but now the spiritual recreation has begun.
But Mary has faith, and that is what gives us hope. God has given her the faith she needs to seek him. Remember, Christ tells us to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Granted, Mary did not know that Christ was alive, and so she was seeking a dead Jesus, but seek him she did. She sought him out of faith. She got up early and went to the tomb out of love for her savior. When she finds him missing, she immediately goes to Peter and John to help her find his body. When Peter and John leave, she remains weeping for her Lord. She then stoops to look into the tomb, even though she knows his body is not there. The suddenly appearing angels don't even stir her heart away from her quest for Jesus. Even when Jesus appears to her, she is too focused on finding her Lord to realize that she has indeed found him. Well, he found her, but her faith made herself available to him at the tomb.
Now, we know about the new creation, and we do not seek the living among the dead. We don't have to go to the tomb to seek a body, because we know that Christ is risen. We know that he is alive, and that we have seen him. Mary went back to the disciples after Jesus spoke with her, and she said to them, "I have seen the Lord." We can say that, too, because we read these words in the scriptures, and our faith grasps hold of them. We, too, have seen the Lord, because he has first seen us, and he has begun to change us into a new creation, on the first day of the week of our lives.