Bible Reading: John 20:11-18
I think that it is a thing most wonderful that the first person to see the resurrected Jesus was a woman! A woman who had been gloriously set free from the seven demons that had bound and tormented her [Luke 8:2]. She would be the first person to meet with and witness to others of the resurrected Christ. This was astounding because in the Jewish culture a woman could not even be a witness in court.
Mary Magdalene’s grief was so deep. The word “crying” [John 20:11] is a Greek word that means, “to wail.” It is used in the same sense in John 11:33 following the death of Lazarus. In her deep grief Mary Magdalene stooped to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting where Jesus’ head and feet had been. This was one of the rare occasions in Scripture where the presence of angels did not cause fear! Perhaps her grief was so deep that there was no room for fear. Unlike John, who recognised that men had not taken the body of Jesus away, Mary is still convinced that someone has taken His body.
Turning around she saw Jesus standing there, but did not recognise Him. She thought it was the gardener! She still didn’t recognise Him when He asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She asked this person whom she thought was the gardener, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away” [v.15].
At that moment Jesus revealed Himself to her. It took just one word, “Mary!” Her response is immediate. “Rabboni” which means “teacher” in her native Aramaic, language. It is often translated into English as “Master.” She had once been a slave of sin, but now Jesus had become her Master! What a moment! The scales fell from her eyes, and the One she loved was alive. Can you feel the emotion that Mary must have felt?
Mary’s immediate response was to cling to Jesus, and never let Him go again! But everything had changed. She could no longer fellowship with Jesus having Him present with her in His human body as in earlier days. Jesus had to return to heaven and be with His Father. Future relationship would be with the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus and the Father would send [see John 20:22]. In the days ahead Mary would converse with Jesus in the same way that we do, but right now He wanted her to go and tell His brethren that He was alive! I love the fact that Jesus called them “My brethren” [John 20:17], even though they had let Him down and abandoned Him in His hour of need. Such is the nature of grace! I also love the fact that He used a woman to tell of His resurrection. That also is grace!
Mary called Jesus “Rabboni” meaning Teacher or Master. What does it mean to love Jesus so deeply, and yet to call Him Master of your life?
Why do you think Jesus chose a woman, and especially in the Jewish culture, to be the first person to tell the world that He had risen from the dead?