The scene is bleak.
Mary, one who was enslaved in sin, saw love in it’s purest form. From the time she experienced this love, there was no turning back for her.
I don’t know if she had experienced love in any form prior to meeting Christ. We do know though, that her eyes and her heart had never seen hope. Her meeting with Christ was the beginning of that hope. It wasn’t the end, or the means, yet.
Mary’s love for Jesus is astounding. She follows Him all the way to the cross. She looks on as He suffers. As He breathes His last.
Her grief is a weight that is far too heavy for her to bear.
For the first time in her life, she had glimpsed hope and love. Now, all that is gone. Those precious things that were at work, changing her life, are taken away from her just as suddenly as they had appeared. Grief seems inadequate a word to describe the plethora of emotions that are captivating her heart, causing turmoil and devastation on a number of levels. In her mind, she lost her most precious earthly relationship, and she also lost her hope, this security that Christ provided.
She is devastated. Perplexed. Confused.
She knows not what to do next.
In honour of The One whom she loved, she comes to the tomb to anoint His body. She comes at the earliest possible moment. This is her “good-bye”. Her last opportunity to lavish honour upon the one she knows was deserving, and the one who held her heart. This is important to her personally, and it is important within the cultural context that she lives.
However, what she finds, or doesn’t find, upon approaching the tomb only adds sorrow upon her already anguished heart.
The body of her Lord, it isn’t there.
The effect on her spirit is crushing.
We know that her thoughts are subjective at this point because the scripture references the presence of 2 angels sitting in the place where Jesus lay. They ask Mary, “why are you crying?” She answers that she doesn’t know where they have laid the body of her Lord.
She is in the midst of witnessing something incredible. It’s not every day one gets the privilege of speaking with an angel. They have been known to show up exclusively in the most significant historical events known to mankind. She fails to consider these facts. Her ability to process information like this is greatly affected by the state of her heart.
Have you ever been there? God is at work within your circumstance, working something incredible. A work only He can do. But, in your subjective state, you miss it. You proceed to do that which Mary does next:
Mary begins to weep.
I don’t think the scripture indicates that she is simply pushing back a few tears. She’s neither concerned for her dignity, nor is she ashamed of her tears. She is weeping.
She does not yet understand that Christ’s death was the purpose of His life, and that the scene she is witnessing is the embodiment of victory. She doesn’t know that she is the first eyewitness to history’s most significant event: the culmination of man’s eternal salvation. She also doesn’t yet know of all the gifts and joy that have just been secured for her future. The Holy Spirit. Hope. A home in heaven reserved for her.
She didn’t realize that this was not the time to cry. This was the time to rejoice.
Then Christ Himself appears. He doesn’t rebuke her for her lack of faith. He is filled with compassion, and He tenderly says her name:
Upon hearing her name, she immediately recognizes the voice of her saviour.
It is the moment that everything changes. This is the moment Mary realizes she serves a living Saviour.
Her intense suffering is replaced by indescribable joy and triumph.
Her heart leaps with joy unspeakable as she learns that she has just experienced God’s plan for the redemption of mankind.
She was the first to experience the joy that comes upon learning that we serve a living Saviour.
This is the same joy we celebrate today. This Easter Sunday that is so filled with hope, because, we too serve a living Saviour.
Happy Easter, friends.