Mary Magdalene at the Grave
Read Mark 16:9
Just before faint, pink streaks begin to brighten the Eastern sky on early Easter morning in Jerusalem, a lone woman is walking quickly towards Joseph’s sepulcher. It is Mary Magdalene, a woman who had been miraculously saved from sin and delivered from the demonic possession of seven devils.
She is likely looking down as she hurries along so as not to trip on any stones on the path in the darkness. Soon she draws near to the tomb where she had seen her precious Savior laid to rest on Friday. She stops short upon seeing something very different the giant stone is rolled away, and the tomb stands wide open! Quickly she concludes that her precious Jesus must have been stolen. She turns around and runs to find Peter and John and tells them,
They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher and we know not where they have laid him.John 20:15
Then Mary returns to the sepulcher. Her love for Jesus is so great that she cannot stay away from the last place she saw Christ.
Scripture tells us four times that she was weeping; yet mingled with her sorrow is undying zeal and sincere love for Christ. This mixture of sorrow and love is still often the experience of a believer – driven by hope on one hand, yet filled with sorrow of missing the presence of Christ on the other.
As Mary stands there, she sees someone she assumes to be the groundskeeper, not realizing at first it is the One who created the earth and commanded mankind to tend it.
She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Her heart is pining for her Savior. What a wonderful example to follow!
Then Christ speaks with simplicity and power: “Mary.” What music it must have been to her ears! Christ, the Anointed, the love of her heart speaking directly to her longing and troubled soul! This woman, who had despised His name by her life of sin for years, now receives this personal address by the sovereign, gracious Savior of sinners. She experiences the personal nature of His Word in her soul. That is what we need also. It is wonderful to have the objective Word, but that Word must become personal for us.
Mary responds to Jesus with awe and reverence: “Rabboni,” meaning, master teacher. In Jewish education, there was a “Rab,” a young teacher, a “Rabbin,” and a “Rabboni.” This was the wisest and most experienced – a teacher of teachers, a chief teacher. This is precisely Jesus Christ. He is chief among ten thousand. He is the superlative, outstanding, unmatched, perfect, and highest Rabboni! He is everything for Mary, and He must be “all and in all” (Col. 3:11) for each of us.
John writes that apparently Mary fell down in worship holding Christ’s feet, for she had to receive His loving rebuke: “Touch me not.” That is, “Stop clinging to Me physically.” Mary had a lesson to learn. Jesus would ascend to His Father and once He was there, Mary, as well as all the disciples, could cling to Him by faith. Mary was too caught up in the physical and emotional moment for her spiritual best. Jesus was saying here what Paul later wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “(W)e walk by faith, not by sight.” We all have that lesson to learn as well. Faith in the risen Savior, despite our immediate feelings, is what is required. When we cling to Christ by gracious faith, there is sufficient comfort in the soul.
John tells us in 20:31 that,
these (truths also about His resurrection) are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
May the Risen Lord of Life grant that we find our hope and expectation, our very life, in Him alone.