“On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb,” (John 21:1).
The Sabbath laws allowed a person to only travel a distance of about two miles, a mile there and a mile back. Between the law against working on the Sabbath and the traveling distance, Mary had to wait.
Mary had been with Jesus since He healed her and cast out the demons that bound her. His love, His teaching, His mercy and grace for her still makes me shake my head and weep. So much of her story ripples through mine. It only makes sense that she would be awake and heading to the tomb as soon as she is able. Imagine her shock and disbelief that His body was gone. She would not be able to weep at His side. She would not be able to finish the burial process with the herbs and spices. After all the pain and abuse on Good Friday, to steal His body so He could not even rest in peace was too much to bear.
“So she ran to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him,” (John 21:2).
Mary immediately went to her friends, the disciples, who had followed Christ for the last three years. Maybe they knew something about what happened to Him. Simon Peter and John, hurried back with Mary to see for themselves. Peter went inside the tomb and when there was nothing to be found, they raced back to the other nine disciples to tell them.
“But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus’ body had been lying. They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? ” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him,” (John 20:3-10).
Mary was overwhelmed from the emotional week she had experienced watching Jesus come into Jerusalem on a donkey, like a king who comes in peace, only to be turned over to the Roman soldiers who spit on Him, beat Him, flogged Him and then crucified Him. To have His body stolen was the final push and she broke into tears.
“Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus. “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? ” Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” — which means “Teacher.” “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father,” (John 21: 11-17).
When Jesus addressed her by her gender, it was an acknowledgment of what she was, but when He called her by name it was about who she is; someone Jesus knew well, someone He called by name. In return, she calls Him teacher, embracing Him in a relieved and grateful hug. He responds by telling her to not hang onto Him, He is not here to stay.
“But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father — to My God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord! ” And she told them what He had said to her,” (John 20:18).
Mary immediately runs to the where the disciples have gathered to tell them that she has seen Jesus, she had touched Him, He is alive!
First, she sought out Jesus for herself.
Second, she sought others who knew Him to tell about Jesus.
Third, she sought to tell others about the changes she experienced because of her encounter with Him.
Best Beloved, this is the Great Commission in a nutshell. First, I must encounter Jesus, beginning a relationship with Him. Second, we are to find those who are believers who can help us in our faith journey. Third, we then are to seek others to tell about our relationship with Jesus. Those who may not have known your story with Him, but can be encouraged by it.
May we fully embrace Easter- accepting the story in our lives so we can make the most of sharing it with those who have yet to hear.
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!