In this world so full of heartache and loss, we find our hope in Jesus. For Jesus is alive and so is His message of love and peace. May we turn toward Him today and know His joy.
BODY & SOUL
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”). – John 20:14-16 (NIV)
Have you ever been heartbroken, so consumed by grief that you wondered how you would ever go on with life? That’s how I think Mary Magdalene felt in the wee hours of that Sunday morning. The past two days had rocked her world, shattering her heart into thousands of tiny misshapen pieces.
She had stood at the cross, watching her beloved Jesus endure the agony of that undeserved torture. She had heard the crowds hurl their insults. She had seen the bruises he bore from the soldier’s sport. She had watched the blood stream down his scourged back as he carried his own cross. A crown of thorns, casting lots for his beautiful seamless robe… oh, how could they be so cruel?
He had saved her. Jesus had freed her from the demons that had stolen her life away from her. Jesus had loved her like no one else had ever loved her. She owed him everything.
Yet, as he hung there on that cross, she could do nothing. He had saved her, but she could not save him. There was only one thing she could do now for him. She could give him a proper burial. She could at least do that.
Still, it had been the Sabbath and she could not go near the tomb. She had sat hugging her knees to her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks, just waiting. Waiting for Sunday. Waiting to serve her beloved teacher one final time.
Imagine her dismay as Mary arrived at the tomb on that dark and chilly Sunday morning. The tomb stood empty, the stone rolled away. Dismay turned to panic as she ran to alert the disciples. Returning to the garden, she was distraught, staring at the empty tomb in disbelief, tears flooding her eyes.
“Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away…”
Jesus had called to her. He knew her by name. With the sound of his gentle voice, Mary was saved once again. She was saved from a life of bitter disappointment. She was saved from a life of loss and despair. At the sound of His voice, Mary knew joy. She felt peace. Mary found hope.
Yes, you and I know heartache. We know the bitter despair that comes from living in this fallen and sinful world. Yet, like Mary, we are not alone in that garden. Jesus waits for us there. He waits to call us by name. He waits for us to listen for His still, small voice. Just like Mary, we can leave that garden changed, the despair of our broken hearts forgotten. For Jesus is alive and He calls to us. When we respond and draw near to Him, we find our joy, our peace, our hope.
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. – John 20:18 (NIV)
O Lord Jesus, You call us by name. Just as You called Mary, You call us to draw near. Oh, that we would hear Your voice, that we would take heed of Your call. How we need You, Lord. Grant us eyes to see You, ears to hear You and hearts to serve You.
In the Gentle Name of Jesus, we pray,