The Passion Week started with the generous Mary from Bethany anointing Jesus’ feet with her costly oil. It climaxed with the glorious resurrection and Mary Magdalene proclaiming the good news of the empty tomb.
Since Mary had been set free of the seven demons that tormented her, she had traveled with Jesus helping to take care of his needs. When Jesus was sent to the cross, she was there watching everything that happened to her dear Savior. She saw Joseph take his body down from the cross and she saw the grave where he put him. Together with some of her friends she went home to prepare spices and perfumes to anoint the body. As soon as the Sabbath was over, very early in the morning, while it still was dark, they headed to the garden where Jesus had been buried.
“Who is going to roll the stone away?” wondered the women as they approached the tomb.
It had been a miserable weekend. Their Master, the hope of the world, was dead, buried by a stranger, guarded by soldiers from the Roman army. I’m sure the women wondered why they had to guard the tomb of a dead man. The religious leaders wanted to make sure nobody stole the body and spread the word that Jesus had resurrected. That had heard Jesus say he was going to come back to life.
The disciples kept themselves under locked doors, maybe fearful that the religious leaders would do to them what had happened to Jesus. Judas the betrayer had hanged himself. Peter was devastated because he had disowned the Savior.
Who were the strangers that had buried Jesus? Mary had watched every move. She had put so much hope in Jesus—now all her dreams were shattered. But one thing was for sure. She was not going back to her old life. What Jesus had done for her was beyond description. To be free from the tormenting spirits was out of this world. The least she could do was anoint his body. That would be her last farewell.
What a surprise when Mary and the other women arrive at the tomb. It was open! The stone had been rolled away.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”
Then they remembered his words.
Risen! Alive! Mary ran as fast as her legs would carry her. She knew where to find the disciples, all huddled up grieving their Lord.
“Peter! John! He’s gone! Someone has taken him. An angel said he’s alive!”
Peter and John also ran as fast as their legs would carry them. John, the youngest, arrived first at the grave, but Peter was the one to enter, not to a sepulcher like we are used to, but a cave.
What a sight! The grave clothed lay there neatly folded, as if someone had stepped out of them. They hurried back to the others. What could this mean?
Mary Magdalene stayed behind.
A man she thought was the gardener approached her. “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him,” she said.
That was all it took. The voice of her Teacher—unmistakable.
Her Teacher! Her Rabboni!
Once again she was off running. “I have seen the Lord!” was her message. No one could take that away from her. And no one can take that away from you and me. To meet the risen Savior, to have him call your name—nothing compares to that!
Mary was in the forefront of millions that throughout the centuries have proclaimed,
“I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!”
I hope the Easter season of 2016 has brought new meaning to your heart. I hope you have a new appreciation of the Savior. I hope you see him in a new light.
I hope you can proclaim as Mary Magdalene,