Mary Magdalene is the most significant "first" at the Resurrection! She was the first at the gravesite, and she was the first to see the risen Savior (John 20:11-16). She comes brokenhearted and filled with grief.
The death she had witnessed had been disturbing. The disappearance of the body was even more distressing. Mary, brokenhearted by her loss, wept at the side of the tomb. At first she was oblivious to the presence of two angels. As she looked into the tomb where the body had laid, through her tears Mary saw them! Their appearance was fascinating, for they were seated at either end of the burial slab – looking very reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant of old, where angels guarded the mercy seat. They responded to her weeping, and her only thought was that they might know where Christ had been taken.
However when Mary turned away from the angels, there before her was Christ Himself! In that most tender of moments, Jesus called her name, and she immediately recognized Him. She was shocked with joy! She faced Him, and as she looked at Him, she turned from death to life; from grief to joy; from despair to belief. She responded, "Rabboni":- teacher, master, the equivalent of "my dear Lord," the title only a believer can utter about the Christ. Her emotional roller coaster had settled in peaceful calm. She has seen Jesus alive. Mary of Magdala, once demon-possessed but now set free, once grieving but now joyful, was the first person to see the risen Christ! For the first time in days, darkness had been overwhelmed by light. Death had been thwarted by the resurrection of Christ.
Not only was she the first to see, she was the first to tell. Mary Magdalene ran back to the disciples and did what we are now to do. She told what she saw, and she told how it felt. He is alive, and because of that we have life forevermore! Joy has come where weeping had endured, for Jesus was, and is yet today, alive!
For two thousand years, men, women, boys, and girls have stood up – for many of them on pain of death – to be witnesses for Christ. We are invited to join them in this grand, eternity-transforming enterprise of telling people about the risen Christ. Like Mary, our call is to go into the world and tell them what has happened in our lives because Jesus conquered death. Like Mary, we are not called to eloquence, brilliance, or cleverness. We are called to tell what has happened and how it felt.
When Jesus Christ came into the world, He declared that His mission statement was not about death but about life. Hear His words: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”(John 14:6).
Christ kept His Word and provided the rescue He had promised. In fulfilling His mission, He did the impossible by taking dead people and making them living persons. This is the victory of Calvary. The victory of love and the victory of life-changing grace is secured and made possible by the love that holds us in its arms and won't let go.
Now as we approach this week between Calvary and the Resurrection pause for a few moments “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” and may you determine to live the truth of the phrase, “My glory all the cross.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand –
The shadow of a mighty Rock Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noon-tide heat, And the burden of the day.
I take, O Cross, thy shadow For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than The sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame, My glory all the cross.
In His Amazing Grace,
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