Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and that He had said these things to her.
I love the resurrection story in John 20. Maybe because we’re both women, I identify with Mary Magdalene’s emotions.Her initial despair when she sees the empty tomb.
Her determination to carry Jesus’ body all by herself in a vain attempt make things better. Her joy when Jesus said her name, and she recognized the resurrected Lord. Her immediate obedience when Jesus commanded her to tell the disciples.
Then again, I’m not very proficient at the immediate obedience thing. If I’d been in Mary’s place, Jesus’ command to proclaim the resurrection of a man who three days ago had been declared dead, dead, dead would have stopped me cold. Because I would have made an excuse out of what Mary surely understood back in her day.
Without proof or the collaboration of other credible witnesses, no one would believe her claim that Jesus was alive. Besides, she was a woman, and before Jesus came along, women didn’t count for much. Especially not to the Jewish leaders who sent Jesus to his death and wanted him to stay dead, dead, dead.
How did Mary find courage to obey? I think the answer is found in verse 17 where Jesus calls her by name. “Mary,” he says, and she responds, “Raboni.” Then, she clings to the One who rose from the dead, the One who turned her despair into hope, the One who restored purpose to her life.
When the One who called her by name commanded her to spread the word, she held onto hope implicit in his resurrection. Clinging to hope, she made no excuses. She stood firm in the truth. She refused to water down the message.
She ran to the disciples and announced, “I have seen the Lord!”
Today, with Easter music still ringing in our ears, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection lifts us up. Jesus bids us cling to the hope found in the empty tomb. He calls each of us by name and commands us to announce the truth to a waiting world.
Jesus is risen!
The tomb is empty!
Death has lost its sting!
Our Savior lives!
In the wake of Easter, with the empty tomb behind us and a world perishing without hope before us, will we follow the example of Mary Magdalene? Will we obey and proclaim what we know to be true?
We have seen the Lord!
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