Week 4, Day 28

John 20:11-18

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘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 that he had said these things to her.

Of all the historic moments in our nation’s history, name one you wish you could have seen and experienced live.

As a history buff I wish I could have been present at the “I Have a Dream Speech,” given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Yet the music enthusiast in me would have loved to hear Jimmy Hendrix playing live at Woodstock. And of course the sports addict in me would have enjoyed sitting center ice for the “Miracle on Ice” game between the American hockey team and the USSR in 1980.

However, I think Mary Magdalene had the best seat of all time. She had a front row seat to our moment in redemptive history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our victory over sin. Could there be a more significant moment in all history? Is there something we really need more than forgiveness provided in the resurrection? And Mary Magdalene, a little known woman, gets to witness the epic defeat of evil in salvation’s final blow. A battle that lasted thousands of years which began in the Garden and culminated on a cross; a cross that defeated every human who hung on them. But not Christ; not our God.

For Jesus, the cross and the grave were the path to victory. What looked to be certain defeat was just delayed victory for Jesus. And in this victory, he reveals his resurrected body to Mary Magdalene with a short and personalized victory speech. Just the call of her name to get her attention – “Mary.” I find this to be just like Jesus. Always calling out the most unlikely of candidates through unusual means.

Yet this is you, and this is me. Little known people who are in desperate need of salvation from our sin and selfishness. We, just like Mary, are the most unlikely of candidates who are defeated by sin but find victory in the life offering of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Just insert yourself into the scene and your name into the most incredible and loving comment uttered by a resurrected Savior, “Jesus says to you, “____________________.” 

Take a moment in prayer to picture Jesus and yourself in the garden, and him saying your name. Imagine what you would say in response.

Father, I celebrate your love for me, your offering of Jesus, and the raising of your Son to life to give me hope. Hope from my past, and hope for the future. I celebrate you today. In the mighty name of a God who saves. Amen.