The Resurrected Jesus Meets Mary Magdalene

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

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. - John 20:1-18

Devotion:

What forgiven sins in your life make you bow your head in reverent gratitude and awe of God’s mercy and grace? I have so very many.  Mary Magdalene did also.  In Luke 8:2, we learn that Jesus had delivered Mary from the torment of seven demons. Her devotion to Jesus, in his life and in his death, was the response of immeasurable gratitude for His miracle of freeing her from bondage.  She supported him and the disciples financially (Luke 8:3), didn’t leave him until the moment he died (John 19:25), and was the first person he appeared to after his resurrection (John 20:15-18).

Women were regarded as very lowly individuals by Rabbis during the time period Jesus walked on earth.  They were not allowed to testify in court and were heavily vailed in public. For a Jewish author to record Jesus value and inclusion of women was radical!  It shows the historicity of the text.  Jesus challenged the system.  He loved all his image bearers, despite gender, status, or age during his earthly ministry.  We repeatedly see Jesus offer his teaching, healing, and forgiveness to both men and women.  The first individual to proclaim Jesus as the Savior to the Jewish people was Anna in the Temple (Luke 2:36-37).  A woman scandalously washed the Lord’s feet with her hair (Luke 7:37-38) and anointed him with expensive burial oils (Mark 14:3).  Women stood mourning at the cross until Jesus died (Mark 15:47) and they were the first to come to the tomb and proclaim he was risen (John 20:1 and Matthew 28:8).

The point is not that Jesus favors women.  The point is Jesus favors people.  He loves people.  He doesn’t depend on the status quo or the societal perspective of who is worthy of love and who is not.  He loves us.  He chose to appear to Mary Magdalene first because he loved her.  It didn’t seem logical. She couldn’t even appear in court to testify.  She clung to Jesus and he instructed her to let go of him physically, reminded her he would ascend to the Father soon, and commanded her to go tell the others.

Today, ponder the freedom Christ has given you and sit in His presence in gratitude.  Galatians 6:1 “”For Freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Celebrate His resurrection power in you in the form of the Holy Spirit!

Questions:

Where have you been set free?  How can you express that gratitude today?  Where do you need to bask in the love and grace of the Lord Jesus as we celebrate our risen Savior?

Who do you limit God’s love to?  Is there some population that seems out of the God’s reach in your mind?  Ask Jesus to give you His radical love for all people!

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