Read: John 20:1-2; John 20:11-18
One of my most loved Christmas songs is now "Mary Did You Know." Such precious truth about Jesus is contained in those beautiful lyrics. This week, I discovered that another Mary could have had her own song with that title. We know her as Mary Magdalene, and tucked into one of the accounts of Jesus' resurrection we can learn some precious truth that she surely came to know.
Each of the four gospel accounts adds or deletes different details of what happened on that awesome day, the day when Jesus showed Himself to be alive, having conquered the grave, 1 Corinthians 15. I won't try to fill in all the blanks in order to harmonize the accounts. I'll add a few details for clarity’s sake from the various renderings of the story, but I would like to primarily view Mary's story through John's eyes, reminding ourselves of the incidents he highlighted.
1. Mary, along with several other women not named in John's gospel came early to the tomb. They were there to show Jesus love by finishing the anointing of His body. They went, not having any idea how they would be able to roll away the stone so they could perform their act of love. They came as early as possible to give this last gift to the Master. Mary did you know that the stone would be rolled away when you arrived at the tomb? God had already gone ahead of you. There would be nothing for you to do as far as anointing your dead Lord's body because He no longer was there; however, you thought that someone had stolen Him away, and you had no idea where He had been taken, John 20:1-2.
2. Mary was broken hearted because there was so much she did not know. She stood outside the tomb and wept. The first to approach her was an angel who questioned her concerning her tears. When the heavenly messenger offered no words that brought comfort to Mary, she got ready to leave. Mary did you know that the One you thought to be the gardener would end up being Jesus Himself? Did you come to know that He saw your tears and cared why you were weeping? You spoke of going to get Jesus' body. Something You couldn't have done; instead of that Jesus showed you that even though you didn't know where He was, He knew right where you were.
3. Mary did you know that you would recognize Your Lord when He spoke your name? You would have been thankful to show loving care to Jesus' broken body, but instead, He gave you the privilege of carrying His message to the disciples and brothers. You were privileged to share His message even though women were often not believed back then, John 20:11-18.
What is precious about what Mary came to know is that it is for us as well as any who will humbly come to trust in Jesus.
1. Often we face tasks we can't fathom doing. We wonder, like Mary and the other women, how we will accomplish them Thankfully, we have the same Master Whom Mary loved. When It is needed, He is able to go ahead of us, making a way that we couldn't have imagined, Ephesians 3:20. There is no stone too heavy for Him to roll away, whether that stone is a circumstance or a person. If something needs to be done, the Lord has no limitations, Matthew 19:26.
2. Often we cry tears that no one sees. Thankfully, Jesus does, and as Mary came to know He cares about what hurts and troubles us. I know that understanding that Jesus does care doesn't take away the grief that many are feeling. Yet we are assured that He is with us, having taken note of each tear, Psalm 56:8.
This week I read a devotion by Bonnie Gray. She told a story from her childhood I'd like to share. Her parents had just divorced, and her father was taking her on their first outing together. They were at a nice clothing store, and Bonnie had the joy of choosing an item of clothing. There it was a pink outfit with silver buttons. Her daddy even allowed her to have both pieces, and she was so happy. Sadly, that joy was short lived. When she got back home to proudly model her special treasured outfit,, her mother told her she looked ridiculous. The outfit went in the trash, tags and all with junk that had been in the sink drain on top of it to demonstrate her mother's disapproval. Her joy, as well as her gift was stolen. Years later, Jesus showed her that He truly had seen her tears and how much He cared. Though her mother had demonstrated contempt for Bonnie, in Jesus' eyes, she was worthy to have joy--Jesus' joy.
3. Often we feel that we are mere faces in the crowd. Perhaps we are dealing with circumstances that cause us to feel as if no one really knows us. Thankfully, Jesus truly knows us, having fashioned us in the womb, Psalm 139:13-16 and having also created us with a purpose in our walk with Him, Ephesians 2:10. As He showed Mary, He knows us by name. His thoughts concerning each of us who belong to Him outnumber the sand, Psalm 139:17-18. How many people have the same name as we do? It doesn't matter because the Savior went to the cross to pay for the individual sins we each have committed. Sadly, sometimes disappointments truly overwhelm us. Yet, Jesus lives in us and wants to use our lives to share His truth and love. The incredible truth of Easter is that Jesus' victory over death has given us abundant life that begins here and now, John 10:10.
Happy Easter. If anyone might read this, and you do not yet know Mary Magdalene's Savior, we desire that you cry out to Him, desiring the forgiveness that only He can provide, John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5.