“But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).”
John 20:11-16 NKJV
Mary had followed Jesus through His ministry, and was completely devoted to His message of grace and forgiveness. Her life had been transformed, as she had been one tormented by demons. She had given her time and her money. She was there through the good times and the bad. She was at the cross.
She had come that morning to assist in preparing the body of Jesus for burial. Instead, she found an empty tomb. Her sadness was magnified as she wept over her missing Lord. In the midst of her suffering and profound grief, she heard a voice. Sometimes we find ourselves wrapped up in the depth of a situation and we cannot comprehend what is happening around us. I can see her standing there, tears flowing, nose running, eyes reddened, physically drained, and then turning to see who had spoken to her.
After years with Him, she did not recognize Him. I am sure the damage of the events of the crucifixion had marred His appearance. Or perhaps the trauma of seeing Jesus on the cross, brutalized had such finality that she could not comprehend any other reality. Then she heard:
On the hearing of her name all the years come flooding back and grief gave way to joy. Her heart knew what her eyes did not: this was Jesus! Sadness gave way to happiness. He is risen!
In that moment all the things she had heard Jesus say, were coming back to her: how He would be killed, buried and that on the third day, He would rise again. I am sure her faith deepened. It had all come to pass.
I love resurrection Sunday. I am reminded that I have newness of life because Jesus went to the cross for my sins, was buried and on the third day rose again. It is also my anniversary of the day that Jesus saved my soul and changed my life for all eternity. Each year I am reminded of what Jesus has done, as I look back at His faithfulness and the change the Holy Spirit has brought about in me.
Mary had much to overcome. Again, It is said that she had seven demons driven from her. I can only imagine the emotional damage and stress that must have had on her. In her deliverance, she became devoted to the One her made her new.
I can relate. The heaviness of my sin weighed me down, and drained me of joy. The other day I posted my high school portrait. I hadn’t seen it in a while, and I was taken a back by how much I have changed. Smiles were rare for me at the point in my life. Darkness reigned in me. Today, smiles are pretty constant, as Jesus has taken my pain and replaced it with Joy. I have been transformed by the resurrection!
Mary’s grief turned to joy as she realized that Jesus had risen. Today we have the same great joy as our sorrow is tempered with the reality of God’s great salvation. The world is in a time of loss. The resurrection brings joy into this present darkness.
I hope today the world sees that, though the buildings are empty, our hearts are not, as we the Church demonstrate that we are being deployed to bring the Good News.
After Mary had seen her Savior, she ran to tell the others what she had seen. Let’s be quick and loud to proclaim the glory of the risen Lord to all who will hear. There will be many CEOs (Christmas and Easter Only) clicking links to attend services virtually today. Pray that the message of the Gospel go out and that seeds are planted.
HE IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED!