Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Oh, the People You’ll Meet – Blinded by Grief
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
But Mary Magdalene wasn’t so sure. After a chaotic first trip to the Jesus’ tomb, Mary discovered no stone in front of the entrance and no body in the grave. She reported this to the disciples and returned to the tomb, struck with more grief. Not only was Jesus dead, but she couldn’t even finish the burial process that had begun on Good Friday. She stood outside the tomb, crying and weeping from her emotional devastation and grief.
When we are filled with grief, we often cannot see reality before our eyes. Mary could not see reality before her eyes. Literally.
Everything she wanted was standing right before her—a risen and glorified Jesus, not a dead body. Were the tears in her eyes too much for her to see reality? Was the expectation of the dead body of Jesus so strong that her mind did not register the resurrected and glorified Jesus who stood before her?
Whatever it was, it took another word from Jesus, a gentle and loving repetition of her name, to snap her out of grief. The familiar voice of her beloved teacher, the Son of God who had healed her of demon possession and given her life back, now gave Mary her joy back! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
But like Mary, we’re not always so sure. It’s not that we don’t believe the words of Scripture, but the griefs and problems life throws at us often cloud our perspective so we cannot see the obvious work of the risen Lord in our own lives.
The only way for Mary to break out of her grief was to have a direct encounter with the risen Lord. When you hear the Easter Gospel account you encounter the risen Lord through his holy and perfect Word. In Scripture you have a record so solidly preserved that you and I can have the exact same certainty about the risen Lord Jesus as Mary on that first Easter dawn. It’s like Jesus is right there assuring you through his Word, “I am alive.” Christ is risen! His risen indeed!
Lord of life, comfort all who stand at death’s door. Comfort all who mourn the loss of a loved one who has died in faith in the risen Savior. Comfort each of us with the assurance that because Jesus lives, we too will live. Remind us all that the death of a Christian is not a defeat. Because of Jesus, it is a day of victory. Amen.