Tuesday, May 19, 2020

As We Go

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Pisit Heng

But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.” “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus told her, “since I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that 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 she told them what he had said to her.

                                                                                                       —John 20:11-18

Theologian Thomas Fuller once said, “It is always darkest just before the day dawneth.” How very true in the case of Holy Week! Imagine being in the shoes of the disciples, grieving the loss of your beloved Teacher and Friend. You have seen Him brutally killed, and you have lived through a whole day without Him. You’re feeling more than a little discombobulated. For three years, you have done life with Him—travelled with Him, left behind jobs and family for Him, lodged with Him, eaten with Him, learned from Him, and watched Him perform amazing miracles. Now, all of a sudden, you are alone. He is nowhere in sight, and you aren’t quite sure what to do with yourself. As if the confusion weren’t enough, the grief itself threatens to undo you.

And then. And then came bursting forth the glorious good news, a brand new kind of good tidings of glad joy on that life-changing Sunday morning!

If you have followed along with any of my writings for very long, you know how much I delight in pointing out our tender Savior’s view and treatment of women. I’ve said before that in a culture which degraded women and put them down, Christ raised them up. We see that so vividly and strikingly here in this resurrection passage.

What we must understand is that in the Jewish culture of the time, a woman’s witness was worth about half that of a man’s. In a court of law, two female witnesses were required for every male witness. Women were thought to be deceivers, liars, brainless, and dangerous. With that in mind, it becomes even more amazing to see that it was to a woman that Jesus first appeared following His resurrection! And, not only that, but He tasked a woman with the mission of proclaiming the fact of the resurrection to the other disciples!

On that beautiful Easter morning, it was Mary Magdalene who travelled to the tomb. And it was Mary Magdalene who first saw the risen Lord. What a tender and astonishing moment. One that undoubtedly changed her life forever!

On this very day, some 2,000 years removed from that amazing moment, let the very same joy, astonishment, wonder, and hope fill your heart and mind anew as it did Mary Magdalene’s. Ponder on these things as if you have never read the resurrection story before. Let that joy sink deep down into your heart during what may be the middle of a very trying season for you, in the midst of this pandemic.

Realize that it is Jesus’ resurrection that secures your own resurrection. Remember that it is His rising from the dead that secures your eternal life. And now, as we go on from here, walk forward in that sense of joy and thanksgiving every day of your life on this earth. Allow it to change how you think, speak, act, and live out the moments of your ordinary life. Make Mary Magdalene’s task your own, and go forth in glad tidings of great joy, sharing with others about the reason for the hope, joy, and love that is within you. You can officially cease your striving, friend. And Resurrection Sunday is why.

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