In a familiar garden, Jesus is betrayed.
Arrested and bound, Jesus is betrayed by His beloved disciple Peter.
Mocked, tortured and beaten beyond recognition, Jesus knew it was time and that all of these things would come upon Him. He believed in faith, trusting God’s will and plans for him.
Our King hung on a cross. And the last words Jesus ever spoke on earth, “It is finished.”
Bowing his head, He gave up His spirit.
This cry was not one of exhaustion, but of completion. Jesus knew all things at this very moment is where every command of the Father and every prophecy of Scripture was fulfilled.
I can only imagine the hopelessness that filled the hearts of the people who loved Jesus.
Especially Mary Magdalene.
She was the last one at the Cross and the first one at the grave. She had a very unique and special bond with Jesus. She had been delivered and healed from tormenting demons by Jesus himself!
Upon Mary’s arrival at Jesus’ grave, and to her surprise, the stone had been rolled away and Jesus’ body was no longer there. In her disbelief and disappointment, she wept grievously.
Two Angels suddenly appeared and questioned her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary said, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:12-13)
Suddenly, Mary turns around and Jesus is standing right there. He asks Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking”
But Mary does not even realize it’s Jesus. In her mind, Jesus is dead. So she assumes this man must be the gardener. In her desperation to find Jesus, she replies, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (John 20:14-15)
Jesus simply says, “Mary.” And suddenly, Mary recognizes the voice of her teacher and quickly clings to Jesus like she is never going to let Him go. Jesus, in His gentleness and love, kindly reminds Mary to not cling to him, because He is really there, He is really resurrected but could not stay for long. The process of His resurrection means that everything has changed. His ascension to returning to His Father in heaven could not be restricted. Time was limited and the message needed to be shared. So, Jesus commissions Mary to bring the gospel message to the apostles.
Mary becomes an apostle to the apostles.
Mary had the great privilege to walk with Jesus, to serve Him, and to witness some pretty amazing miracles on Earth. What she saw with her eyes filled her with great hope. But when Jesus was gone from her sight, even in death, she grieved His missing body.
Her emotions blinded her from picking up on any of the clues that were visible to her.
The empty tomb, clothes left behind, the Angels and even the sight of Jesus could not pierce Mary’s darkness that hovered over her broken heart. It was not until Mary heard Jesus call her name. She, like a true sheep, knew the unforgettable voice of her shepherd.
Mary is filled with belief.
It is hard to believe without seeing. And that is why we have the Bible. We read to see. We listen to hear. We pray to intercede.
We may not have the privilege that Mary had to be with Jesus in person, but we also have many privileges that Mary did not have either. Jesus' resurrection proved His deity.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” (John 20:29b)
Those who have not seen includes ALL who have believed in Jesus Christ since His ascension to the Father. Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the son of God, God in the flesh. He is the Messiah who fulfilled God’s promises to Israel.
Jesus met Mary in a way that was best for her. And Jesus meets us in the very ways we need.
We can read and hear the experiences and miracles of others. And it always directs us to Jesus, it even leaves us with a hope to long for. But it isn't until we personally walk through something that may be either difficult, unexpected, or even experience a blessing where we can encounter Jesus for ourselves. It is where we believe in faith, taking God at His word and trusting His will for our lives.
John 20:30-31 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
~ Stefanie Rodriguez