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Resurrection and New Life 8: Jesus Appears to Mary

Resurrection and New Life Day 8 – Jesus Appears to Mary

“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.” (John 20:11-14, ESV)

I recently attended the funeral of my sweet, precious aunt. After her health took a turn for the worse, she slipped away and went to her forever home in heaven. Even though she lived a long life of 83 years, we were saddened to see her go. Yes, we are thankful she is no longer suffering, but we will miss her here. As we gathered with family and friends for her service, what might have been my reaction if she had suddenly appeared and spoken to me? I can honestly say I would have felt pure terror mixed with a whole lot of confusion. 

Mary approached the tomb of Jesus, deeply troubled with grief over losing Him. The heartache she felt since she had watched her Lord and friend die on the cross was surely deepened as she came to His tomb and saw it was empty. Where had they taken Him? What had happened to His body? With all the precautions His executioners had taken to secure His grave, why would it now stand open and empty? And so she wept, not knowing what to make of it all. This confusion prompted her to take an even closer look, stooping down and looking into the tomb where He had been lying. Inside she found two angels, one where His head had been and the other where His feet had been. The angels asked her why she was crying, and she answered that she didn’t know where her Lord had been taken. That’s when she heard a voice. 

Mary.” That’s all she needed to hear to understand Who was speaking to her. She replied, “Rabboni!” (meaning Teacher). And in that moment, her hope was renewed. Her tears turned to joy. Her Lord stood before her—alive, risen!

In many ways, we are like Mary. We long for our Savior to come to us. We hurt; we weep; we want to be with Him. We know that the best is ahead for all who believe, and so we are waiting for His promised return. 

What hard circumstances are you wrestling with today? Our world is so filled with the sorrow that accompanies sin and brokenness. Living here is often incredibly hard, and yet, as Christ followers, we are not without hope. We are told in Scripture that death has lost its sting; it has no final say over us. Those of us who are saved rest in the knowledge that when we take our final breath we are simply moving to our new home in heaven with Christ, away from the pain, sickness, and heartache that hurt so deeply here. And the redeemed loved ones we have tearfully parted with will be raised from the grave one day, as shall we and every one who is saved. What a glorious hope that is, and what peace it brings.

Mary went on to share this great news with others: “I have seen the Lord!” We cannot know the exact reason why Jesus chose to appear to her first, but it’s interesting to see how He appeared to one who was searching for Him. Isn’t that so like Him? Isn’t that how He comes to us too? Maybe you don’t know Him as Savior yet, but He promises to save every one who will come to Him in faith. We can trust that when we seek Him we will find Him, when we search for Him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

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