Are there particular images that come to mind when you consider the Easter story? Each year, certain scriptures circulate through my mind, and I have to say that the story of Mary Magdalene is always among them. It’s as if it’s not quite Easter unless I retrace her steps toward the tomb. So join me this morning, friends, and let’s take a walk with Mary.
He is not here; he has risen!…
Luke 24:6a – NIV
Was there a chill in the air that morning as they rose in the pre-dawn light? Were the birds fluttering in the trees, singing their morning song, or were they, like the women, somber and silent? Was the load they carried in their arms as heavy as the burden that laid on their hearts?
If Friday had been horrific, then Saturday had been excruciating. Being the Sabbath, the women had ceased their work according to the Law, but the pain in their hearts had not ceased. Jesus was gone. How could they go on?
They couldn’t make the torture stop. The images flooded their minds: the crowd, the insults, the beatings, the cross. How could it have ended that way?
Mary Magdalene trudged up the hill, her footsteps as heavy as her heart. Her shoulders slumped, eyes wet, she shook her head in disbelief. He had saved her, given her a new life, a new hope, but she couldn’t save him. He was gone, and she couldn’t fathom how life could go on.
The sun crested the hilltop throwing soft golden rays on the dew laden grass. Mary’s steps slowed as she moved through the garden headed for the tomb, the tomb where they had laid her beloved teacher.
Drawing near, she inhaled sharply, her eyes wide with fear. The stone had been rolled away. Dropping her load on the grass, she moved forward with trembling steps.
The tears she had been stifling now poured like rain. Leaning forward, she peered into the tomb. The body was gone. Instead, two figures clothed in radiant white robes stood where the body of her Lord should have been. “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him.” In utter despair, she turned away sobbing.
Another voice called to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Her chest heaved with the torrent of tears. She couldn’t take this, this final humiliation. They had taken him from her, nailed him to a cross, and now stolen his body. It was just too much to bear.
Turning to the man who must be the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
“Mary, Mary,” he called out softly.
She knew that voice. Could it be?
Then her damp eyes fixed on him and her heart soared with joy, crying out, “Raboni!”
Her thoughts were swirling. Could it be real? “Jesus! He is alive! He is alive!”
It was real for Mary, and it is real for us. Jesus is alive! He is risen, He is risen indeed!
Wherever you find yourself today, know that there is Good News. If you are feeling empty, desperate or afraid, do not give up. Let go of fear and doubt. Reach for hope. Rejoice in this Good News! Jesus is alive! He is with you. He is for you. Jesus Christ is risen! He is Lord of all!
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 are risen! You have conquered sin and death. You restore our hope. Because of Your great sacrifice, we are forgiven. You have granted us the gift of eternal life with You. Thank You, Lord! We rejoice in Your Great Name!
In the Holy Name of Jesus, we give thanks and praise,