I was reading the account of the resurrection this morning in the book of John. According to that Gospel, Mary Magdalene was the first one to find the stone rolled away and the body missing. Her immediate response was to run back and tell Peter and John. These two then ran to the tomb and saw the grave clothes. They had not understood what Jesus had meant when He'd told them He'd rise again but now they believed and returned to their homes. But Mary remained and continued to be troubled. As she peered into the empty tomb two angels tried to address her questions. They asked her why she was weeping and she explained that she thought Jesus' body had been removed and she didn't know where it was. She turned and Jesus was there and He also asked why she was weeping. Mary didn't recognize that it was Jesus at first...not until Jesus softly called her name. Jesus gave her a task. He told her to go and tell all the disciples that Jesus was risen and that He was ascending to His God and to their God.
I was struck by this account of Mary Magdalene and after doing a little research found out that she was the only person who scripture says was present for the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection. Her loyalty was strong and unique. Mary had first come to follow the Lord after He had delivered her from seven demons (Luke 8:2). She is named 12 times in the gospels, which is more than some of the disciples. It seems that after Jesus had delivered Mary from the evil spirits her total devotion...her orientation in life...was found from being near Jesus. She was determined to stay with Him because she found hope in no other. When He was ripped from her ability to follow through the crucifixion and His death she was devastated and she may have wondered how she could go on. As a result of her loyal devotion and oneness of focus, Jesus made it clear that she would be able to continue to follow Him and she now would also go for Him. The message He gave her to tell the disciples must have been so encouraging to her: 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' (from John 20:17). Jesus had not left Mary or the disciples, He had made it possible through His death and resurrection to be restored to the Father.
Mary's devoted following had led to a place of lasting peace.
blessings this day when we remember that the empty tomb has led to full hearts and completed promises in our lives as well!