“Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.”
Mark 16:2-4 NASB
“Now when [Jesus] was risen early the first [day] of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.“
Mark 16:9 KJV
It is a remarkable thing that a formerly disgraced woman was the first person that Christ revealed Himself to after He was risen. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ was just made up in order for the disciples to save face and keep a movement going, does it make sense that the first person He appeared to was what most in that society would consider to be a mad woman?
Even if she was a woman of respectable society, it would not make sense since the testimony of women was not received in that culture. If the disciples report of the resurrection was to have any credibility, one would naturally expect that Jesus would have appeared to one or all of His inner circle of male disciples first.
Some have even mistakenly surmised from Jesus first appearance to Mary Magdalene that it gives credence to the notion that she and Jesus had been secretly married. In such a case, it was quite natural that Jesus would want to see her first. However, this is just a fruitless speculation without any corroborating historical or scriptural evidence.
There was however a special bond between Mary Magdalene and the Lord Jesus. It is the same special bond of every believer who realizes that he or she has been forgiven much to gain access to God through Jesus Christ.
She Had a Reason to Wonder:
Some of the questions that we might expect that Mary would be asking are these:
- Why did Jesus save me from demon possession only to allow demons to so cruelly humiliate Him and murder Him?
- What would she say to the Roman soldiers? They could imprison her or kill her for even asking a question: imagine her courage, her resolve, her commitment
- How could she and the other women possibly move the stone?
- What condition would she find the body in?
- Jesus was the only way that she knew to get back to God. Now what was she supposed to do?
Like Mary, each of us have reasons to wonder how we can ever find our way back to God. There are many obstacles in our way: There is the great weight of our sin that we haven’t the strength to remove; There is much from the religious and scientific authorities of this world that intimidate us and denies us access to the truth of God; There is also the fear of what lays beyond the tomb. Without Christ’s resurrection, the prospect of what lays beyond death is uncertain.
When my father lay dying of cancer, he often asked: “what have I ever done to deserve this?” As an unsaved young man, I shared in that uncertainty and it caused me to wonder, if it was me laying there, where would my soul be going?
She Had A Reason to Weep:
“Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. … 11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, [and looked] into the sepulchre,”
John 20:2, 11 KJV
There is always a sense of guilt when a loved one is lost. We rehearse over and over if there was something more that could have been done or said. There is always a remembrance of an opportunity lost for an act or a word of kindness. Too often there are the pangs of regret for things said in anger or haste.
It is a tremendously painful experience to see a loved one in a casket. When the casket lid is lowered and sealed, there is a wave of grief unlike any other causing us to weep uncontrollably. Nevertheless, this does provide a sense of closure that allows us to begin healing through the ache that remains.
Mary witnessed the horrible execution of Jesus and surely wondered why it had happened. Her heart ached intensified as it appears that someone had stolen the body of Jesus. The longing of her heart for closure and one last act of devotion in her flesh had also been stripped away from her. The Greek word used to describe her weeping indicates that she convulsively sobbed and wailed in her grief.
Just then, Mary looked up to see someone that she supposed was the gardener and thought him to be a conspirator in removing the body of her Lord. She was desperate in her grief to know where she could find the body of her beloved.
God Responds to a Broken Spirit and a Contrite Heart.
It is the goodness of God to let us experience the consequences of what sin has done to His world in order that we may be led to repentance. God grants knowledge to those who seek Him. The Spirit of God allows us to be knocked down so that we can only look up.
What instantly removed the crushing ache from Mary’s heart in that moment of time? Jesus called her by name...MARY!!
Mary had a reason to weep, but now it was not for her ignorance and frustration, it was not for the loss of her loved one, it was not for the loss of closure…it was for the joy of seeing her Risen Lord!
What will instantly remove the crushing burden of sin and tortures of loss in this life for you?
In a moment of time, the burden can be gone and the loss is turned to gain the instant that you realize that Jesus died and rose again for you!…and He is calling your name to come just as you are. The moment that you put your trust in Him, everything changes.
After my last drunk and hangover I fell down on my knees and asked the Lord what I should do and where I should go. The night the Lord saved me, it was so clear to me that God was using the preachers to speak to me, that it was as if God was calling my name and saying to me, yes I died for the sin of the world, but I DIED FOR YOUR SIN!!
It is common for people to know the Christian dogma and creed that Jesus was crucified for the sin of the world and raised again the third day. As long as we relegate the story of Christ to that of a creed or dogma, it remains safely tucked away in the recesses of our mind reserved for fairy tales, bed time stories and myths.
It is a whole different matter when that truth is applied to us personally
Is that not a reason to weep?
She Had A Reason to Worship
“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.”
John 20:16 KJV
We have often witnessed the crush of adoring fans toward sports or entertainment figures. Each one of their fans holds out an object for the celebrity to personally sign with the fans’ own name written beside it. That object becomes cherished and given a special place of display. We call this idol worship.
Worship is a response to truth. Mary responded in worship to the truth that Jesus is Risen! Moreover, His call to her confirmed the truth that He is her personal Savior.
Mary’s actions are a clear illustration of what it means to worship the Lord Jesus: “…She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni;…” She responded to the truth of His Resurrection and physically turned calling Him Master. In this way, she declared her complete trust in Him.
Now, You Can Have a Reason to Worship
When you respond in faith to the truth that the Lord is calling you by name, your night will be turned to day. Hear Him now before the this day of grace is over and the night of God’s wrath comes. There will be no more opportunity once the day of grace is past.
You may wonder how that huge stone of your sins can be removed.
You may wonder how you can get past the barriers to faith that the world has put up.
You may have reasons to weep bitterly over the circumstances of life that have crushed your spirit and dashed your hopes.
In the end, there is only the sin of rejecting the Lord’s mercy that will send you to hell. Once you give up your efforts to save yourself and simply receive the salvation that Christ offers, in that moment of time everything changes and you too will have a reason to worship.
The Lord is calling your name right now and He is waiting to reveal Himself to you.
Salvation is as simple as turning yourself to take a trusting look at the Master.
If this post was helpful to you, I would appreciate it if you could take the time to post a short comment below. This is very helpful toward getting this blog seen by more people… Thank you and may the Lord richly bless you today.