My very favorite part of the Resurrection story is when Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene–
- The woman whom He cast out 7 demons.
- The woman who became a faithful disciple and follower.
- The woman who was part of His inner circle.
- The woman who supported Him and His ministry.
- The woman whose life was shattered into dust as she witnesses His death.
- The woman who was desperate to ensure He received a proper burial, not the hurried one He was subjected to.
- The woman who knelt distraught before His empty tomb
(This is how I see her)
She hasn’t slept since Thursday night. Since someone came pounding on her door–Mary! The Lord has been arrested! There’s a mob in the street! Come quick!
Being a woman, she wasn’t allowed to see the beating and mockery Jesus endured, but she was present when the angry crowd demanded Barabas’s release. She screamed out Jesus’ name until she was hoarse, tried to get the people to vote for Him rather than against Him.
Then she stood in stunned horror as they demanded He be crucified! Crucified? But crucifixion was saved for the worst of criminals. For the scum of the earth. For the worst of the worst. Surely, they didn’t mean for that to happen to her Lord. Surely…NO RELEASE HIM!!! She screamed. Panicked. Desperate. Then somebody struck her in the back hissing at her to be silent. When she screamed louder more blows came in the shoulder, in the head, in the belly–her cries falling on deaf ears, if they could be heard at all above the roar.
She waited by the roadside…for hours…praying. Hoping. Please, Father, don’t let this happen!
Then she sees Him. At least she thinks it’s Him. His beard has been yanked from his face. And His face–it was swollen. Unrecognizable. She wasn’t even confident it was Him until she saw His eyes–it was then she knew.
As he staggered past, struggling to maintain His balance under the weight of His cross she could see His shredded back. Skin, muscle, and tissue had been violently ripped away revealing bone. As she took in the horror before her, that’s when she saw them–His footprints, marking His passage with blood.
Without thinking she tried to run to His side. To help Him. But was shoved backward by the crowd. So unthinkingly she ran to her friends–Mary and the others and together they raced off to The Hill, pushing and shoving their way through the masses.
As more and more people arrived, they got pushed off to the side, toward the back. But not so far back they couldn’t hear the hammers striking the nails and the cries of agony that followed. Each blow jolting her shredding her soul.
And then He is lifted up. A macabre display for all to see.
Then remembering her companions, she wraps her arms around Mary and begins to escort her toward her son.
Jesus speaks with breathless agony. And she strains to capture every single one. With every tortured breath He takes, she remembers her own agony and demonic torture. She relives her life before He set her free. Before He gave her dignity, purpose, and value. And she could feel them now…the demons…each and every one…and thousands more besides.
IT IS FINISHED!
She snapped back to the now as His voice rings out across the crowd…as His head drops onto His chest…as He dies.
A feral scream rips from her throat as she crumbles to the ground.
Now, about 36 hours later, she’s in front of His tomb. Weeping. Wailing. Rejecting all comfort. She well passed her breaking point.
Earlier she came to tend His body only to discover the stone was rolled away and the tomb was–was empty.
Pick up the story in John 20:11-18:
‘Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said. (Read that again with your name)
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.’
All He did was whisper her name–and she KNEW it was Him! All that was shattered was made whole. She knew it! She felt it! And NOTHING else mattered! She was completely made new. Forgiven. Sanctified. Holy. Righteous. Redeemed. Cherished. Loved. Treasured. His.
I best Moses had nothing on her after he’d seen God’s glory! She stood in the presence of the risen Savior! She looked into His eyes. Heard His voice. And He spoke her name. It gives me goosebumps every time I read it.
Immediately she raced off to find the 12! To tell His message!
I’m determined to do the same.
When my Savior whispers my name. When He calls me Baby–I know His voice. I know Whose I am and who I am because of Who He is. He’s given me a calling to share His message. And I’m determined to share it with any and all who will hear.
That, my friend, is what Easter means to me.
I’d love to know what it means to you
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