John 20:11-18 (NIV)
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
When I was a child our family went to Rose Grove Lutheran, pictured here — a small church and cemetery out in the farmland of Hamilton County, Iowa. (My parents were married there in 1946; my mother was buried there in 1999.) The picture behind the altar was from the passage above — Mary reaching for the risen Lord just outside the tomb — similar to the picture above, but Mary was facing the Lord with such joy on her face.
I have never forgotten that picture. Now, half a century later, I realize it has continued to impact my life in several ways:
1) a fervent interest in the women of the Bible;
2) a grateful heart because Jesus knows my name, just as He knew Mary’s;
3) a strong belief that the death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of a life of significance;
4) a deep confidence that the Lord is the source of true joy; and
5) a bold proclamation which I learned from Mary and from Job — “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
“Never let anything so fill you with sorrow
that you forget the joy of the Christ risen.”
With faith and thanksgiving, then, I wish you a grace-filled Easter season
and the joy of the Risen Lord down deep in your heart, forever!
Love in Jesus,
Such a beautiful hymn! HERE is “This Joyful Eastertide” sung by St. Mark’s Church Choir. Turn up the volume and lift your hands in joy!