She was there when they crucified her Lord. She helped prepare His body for burial. All the while her soul filled with the agony of grief.
How can this be? He was a good man. He was my Saviour, my Lord. The One who delivered me from the torment of demon possession and illness. He was my joy. The One to finally make peace possible for me. He was my only hope. Why Him?
Mary Magdalene out of whom the Lord Jesus cast seven devils (Luke 8:2) was ever grateful. Jesus not only cast out the devils but healed her of the illnesses they had caused her. For all of that, she would love and serve and follow Him anywhere. Wouldn’t you?
Now she is again helpless…and hopeless. Her Saviour is gone.
Out of love and a desire to honor Jesus, Mary and a few other women prepare and bring spices to the tomb to anoint His body. (Luke 24:1)
What they discover that early morning further rocks Mary’s world. The stone is rolled away.
And He’s gone!
Frantic, Mary runs to find someone to help. She comes to Simon Peter and John, and tells them—
They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. John 20:2b
Not knowing what else to do, Mary runs back to the tomb. Lost in grief she stands outside His tomb weeping. As if in denial, she looks inside one more time. She just cannot believe it.
This time, instead of an empty tomb, Mary sees “two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” (John 20:12)
The angels ask her why she is weeping and she responds—
Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. John 20:13b
Mary is so overcome with grief and focused on her missing Saviour that she isn’t even fazed by the appearance of angels!
She isn’t surprised. She isn’t fearful. Mary just wants Jesus’ body back, so that she can show the last measure of love, honor, and respect.
She simply answered their question and turned around…and saw a Man in the garden. Not knowing that He is Jesus, Mary seeks His help to find Jesus’ body.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. John 20:15
Then…Jesus calls her name—Mary.
And Oh, what a moment!
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. John 20:16
Can you just hear the whisper of awe? The utter relief in her voice? “Rabboni.”
Mary’s excitement must have quickly followed. For Jesus had to warn her not to touch Him.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17
What a moment this must have been for Mary. A moment that changed everything.
From overwhelming grief and despair to overflowing joy!
From utter hopelessness to a vibrant, and living, and sure hope!
From darkness and shadows to beauty and light!
All is right in the world again. For Jesus is alive! He is here!
What a moment this was! As I thought on this passage while driving to town this week, my heart filled with wonder imagining such a moment. Imagining myself as Mary. Even now as I write, my eyes again fill with tears.
What must it have been like to immediately go from such deep grief and despair to such heights of relief and joy? What must it have been like to suddenly recognize the risen Saviour? To realize that He is alive again!
I wonder what it would have been like to have Jesus, my Saviour and Lord and Friend, to speak my name? And in such a way? With love and sympathy?
As I dwell on this passage, I have to ask myself—Do I grieve, like Mary, any separation of fellowship between myself and my Saviour? Do you?
Do you love Him as much as Mary did? So much so that you joyfully seek to serve Him in any way possible from a heart filled with thankfulness? Thankful that He didn’t leave you the same as He found you? That He instead cleansed and healed and saved your soul? And gave you a brand new life?
What a difference a moment can make! When we hear Jesus call our name, convicting us of our need for His forgiveness. And we answer Him…Master.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
In that moment Jesus changes everything!
Mary didn’t stay the same after this encounter with her risen Saviour either. She couldn’t sit still. She had good news, the greatest news!
So do we.
Mary immediately went to tell the others. (John 20:18)
How excitedly and urgently do you…do I…share the wonderful news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection?
For there is coming a moment when we, too, will come face to face with our risen Saviour. May we do it with joy…and as few regrets as possible. As the Squire Parsons song says—
Oh What a Moment
Oh, what a moment
when we see Jesus,
when we stand face to face
in His embrace
and thank Him for amazing grace!
Oh, what a moment
when we see Him!
Harvest will then be past
we’ll no longer gather.
Only what’s done for Christ
is all that will matter.
The seeds we have sown
will then be made known.
What joy shall fill our raptured souls that day.
Oh, what a moment that will be!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)
Drawing nigh to Him,
Have you had a special moment with Jesus that changed your life? What changed in you or in your life afterward?