Mary’s sadness turns to Joy


            Mary came to the tomb on the third day to find it empty; she was weeping and peering in to the tomb when she turned around to see a man standing before her, but she didn’t know that it was Jesus.  The scripture is what follows,

            Jesus spoke to her and said, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  She, supposing him to be the Gardner, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (Which is to say, Teacher).  Jesus said to her, teacher, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her (John 20: 15-18.) 


              Jesus Christ had been spit on, whipped, kicked, beaten, punched, yelled at, stabbed, and pierced with nails and a spear, and Mary Magdalene had been there to witness it all.  She had most likely held his Mother Mary who was also there to witness her Son being disrespected.  When she arrived to find an empty tomb her heart and mind were overwhelmed with grief, supposing that someone had desecrated his body even after his death.  She did not yell at the person she thought was the Gardner, but asked in humility where the body was.  The man she supposed was a stranger called her by name, saying “Mary” and her despair turned to elation.  She had desired to find the missing lifeless body of her master, but instead she discovered the living Son of God standing before her.  She was so overjoyed she wanted to embrace him, but Jesus would not allow it; instead he told her to take a message to his brothers who were mourning as well.  He wanted her to tell the disciples that he had been resurrected and was going to ascend.  What began with a search for a dead body, resulted in the discovery of the risen Christ.

             Many people have gone to the tomb looking for a dead Jesus, but when they get there, they find that he has been raised.  One man that comes to mind is Frank Morrison.  He was famous for writing his book, “Who moved the stone.”  Frank had grown up in a family where he was taught to think in a rationalistic way.  During his life, he decided to take three years off from work to disprove the resurrection of Jesus.  After examining the evidence, he came to conclude that the resurrection did in fact take place.  He wrote the book ‘who moved the stone,’ and the first chapter was entitled ‘the book that refused to be written,’ in honor of the book he didn’t write that would have disproven the resurrection.  Frank Morrison went to the tomb, just like Mary Magdalene, and just like Mary Magdalene he found a risen Lord.

             Today, the majority of the world, Christian and non-Christian alike, would concede that a man named Jesus Christ lived; they will even concede that he was crucified on the cross, and perhaps that he taught many good things.  I have met many atheists who would not debate these facts.  The great majority of them would even say, Mary did find the tomb empty.  (They may give a rationalistic explanation for why it was empty; many non-believers will say his followers came and broke in and stole the body to make it look like he had risen from the dead.)  Where do the believer and the non-believer part ways.  Might I suggest it occurs right when Mary says ‘Rabboni.’  The moment she sees Jesus Christ alive and well is where the believer believes, and the doubters scoff.  Today, the question remains.  Do you believe that Jesus Christ stood before Mary?  Do you believe he is ascended in to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God?  If you believe, then your sadness will turn to joy, your doubt will be transformed in to hope, and your life will be sustained by a future with the Lord in His kingdom.  Christ has risen indeed, and because he has risen, we will rise with Him.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now, knowing that Your Son is beside You, and Your Holy Spirit is within us.  We thank You that You raised Your Son from the dead and we believe; we trust that You will raise us up just like You raised Him up, and we look forward to our future with You and with Him, in Your Kingdom?  Lord, help us to bring the report of the resurrection to others that their tears may turn to joy.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”      


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