At the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ were three women…three Mary’s to be exact. There were others who gawked and jeered, but here are three Mary’s standing at the foot of the cross, weeping to the point of exhaustion, probably crying out for the torturous pain to stop. They don’t hear anything else, only the gasps of the One they love most, struggling for every breath.
One of those Mary’s was the earthly mother of Jesus, who delivered the Savior, the Son of God, into our broken, dark world. Another Mary was the wife of Clopas, a rich leader, who probably used her funds to care for Jesus and HIs followers. The third Mary was called Mary Magdalene, a sinner saved and reconciled to God because of Jesus. She was a devoted, loving follower. From this love, she worshiped her Master, Teacher, Friend and now Savior and Lord. This is where we pick up the next passage.
Jesus has paid the price, the Lamb of God, slaughtered for our sin. He has gone to hell and back again to defeat the prince of darkness. He has conquered death by rising from it all to visit his followers, His beloved, one more time before ascending to the Father to prepare a place for all of us forevermore. He is King of all, not an earthly king with limited power for a short time, but King of kings and Lord of lords…forever! Done. Accomplished.
The Mary’s only know they fell a tremendous loss. All three are most likely exhausted from the weeping and grieving. They probably had trouble sleeping that night. We would suspect that this Mary didn’t even go to sleep, but was merely waiting for a chance to care for the body of her Lord before anyone else awoke for the day. It’s time she suddenly decides, enough weeping, I must care for my Lord. She comes with all that is necessary to prepare the body with spices. However, that is NOT going to be needed…
John 20, The Message
20 1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”
17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.
At the end of earthly grief, situations that boggle our minds, of circumstance beyond our control, when we come to the end ourselves and our limited earthly stuff, Jesus simply calls our name, we turn around and look up into the face of the One who loves us most because we know that is HIS voice gently calling our name, personally. It is in this moment that we know we have just seen the Master!
For Mary Magdalene, this was “joy in the morning”, with all hope restored, along with insight and understanding for what is to come. He simply called her name. And she knew Him.
Where are we this morning? Have we come to the end our ourselves and our stuff, in whatever is going on in our lives to listen, turn around and look up and be restored? Even if the problems are still there the next day? Can we trust Him who is always at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us? Can just trust that He knows and He cares and will do what He thinks is best for us?
Dear Heavenly Father, To put ourselves in this scene, this retelling of the hope you gave Mary by merely appearing and calling her name floods our minds with all the times you have come to our rescue, creating pathways through the darkness when we couldn’t see which way to turn. You provided all that we needed for each part of our journey before so why wouldn’t you keep on providing? You make the impossible possible. And you love us through it all, even when our faith falters a bit. Thank you for this story of YOU that tells us more about who You are. Thank you for salvation. Thank you for renewing our minds. In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe!