A Bible Reading: John 20. 10 - 18 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 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.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 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.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 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.’” 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.
At Leading your Church into Growth, our attention was drawn to the Art or Lovelock Bridge in Paris. It is a bridge completely covered in padlocks. This is one of those bridges where couples go and add a padlock to declare to the world that they are in love. In the musical West Side Story, when Tony falls in love with Maria, he too has to tell the world. He can’t keep it to himself and sings a song about how wonderful she is. Love has to be shared.
Mary Magdalene was also one who loved much, because she had been forgiven much. She had been healed and restored by Jesus early on in his ministry (see Luke 8. 2). She was a person of passion committed to following Jesus faithfully from then on because of all he had done for her. She is named among the group of women there at the crucifixion and she is also there at the tomb early on that first resurrection morning.
Mary had been traumatised by the events of Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Now, the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb was all too much. She lingered by the tomb so distraught that she did not seem to realize that the people in the tomb were angels. She was too grief stricken to pay much attention, and when the risen Jesus approached her, she assumed he was the gardener.
Jesus simply calls Mary by name and immediately she recognizes the voice. This is a deeply intimate and personal encounter. Overwhelmed, her natural reaction is to cling on to Jesus. She thought all was lost, and now Jesus is miraculously standing right in front of her. However, Jesus pulls back and sends her back to tell the disciples what has happened.
Out of this encounter with Jesus comes a calling to go and tell others about her faith, beginning with the disciples. This woman with a troubled past becomes an apostle to the apostles. Love pours out of her as she announces to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord”. She simply cannot keep the good news to herself.
The good news of God’s love still has power to change lives, so let us share that love with others that they too may encounter the risen Jesus.
Living Lord Jesus, may we encounter you in your risen glory and then go out to share your love with others. Amen.
Led like a lamb by Graham Kendrick