It is that moment of silent shock. Things are so different from what was expected. The minutes are filled with uncertainty, disbelief and distress. What now?
Every year, at the time of the Passover (I prefer this name to Easter), I ask the Lord to teach me something new of the events that determined time and eternity. Only this year I realized the full impact of the Resurrection on Mary Magdalene in her early morning encounter with Jesus in the garden by the tomb. I have read the story often, but I know that the Word of God is inexhaustible and multi-dimensional. I prepared for the Passover-mediation that a group of ladies came to share with me, when a few lines from John 20 leapt out.
Let us read the golden words together.
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “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.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
In the first verses of the chapter we read John’s version of the race between him and Peter when Mary came to tell them that the grave is empty. It is almost comical. John is writing and according to him he wins the race, but does not enter. Peter, oh so classic Peter, ran right inside and took a good look at everything. John then also entered and saw the linen cloths of his body and the head band neatly folded on the side – a sure sign that He is coming back. The two men return home without understanding. They probably thought a meeting with their brothers is the next step. They did not ask Mary what she was planning to do.
Mary did not know either.
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
Did she want to make sure there was nothing and nobody inside? When she looked, she saw two angels. They were not only visible, but spoke to her. She spoke the brokenness and longing of her heart to them. When she turned around she saw Jesus, but did not recognize him. If she thought He was the gardener, He was able to hide his identity from her and appeared quite ordinary. Again, her tearful heart is exposed in her words. He calls her name and she recognizes him.
What a meeting! A woman whose passion for her Lord and Master (she call him Rabboni meaning Teacher) makes her linger in her indecision and tears and brings her to an indescribable moment of meeting. Surely she fell at his feet and wanted to kiss them as before. Jesus restrains her and speaks these peculiar words:
“Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father…
Come with me through the door of Revelation 4 so that we could witness the triumphant entry of Jesus in heaven before the Throne of God. Remember a door in the Bible is symbolic of revelation, deeper insight into the mystery of God.
Let us read Revelation 5. “See” in your mind’s eye the four living creatures, the Throne with the rainbow and the twenty-four elders. [Pebbles 47 & 48]
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.(Revelation 5:5-7)
John is comforted with the Lion of Judah and when he looked he saw the Lamb that was slain. The perfect Lamb is worthy to take the scroll (the scroll of history) and open the seals.
Jesus ascended to heaven to wave before the Father as the First Fruit of the harvest (Leviticus 23:10) so that the dispensation of the Holy Spirit and the Church could begin. The Feast of the Firstfruits is fulfilled in the Resurrection.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.(Hebrews 10:23)
Think of the glory, the power, the majesty that one woman experienced in that unique moment of numbing shock. She met Jesus. She alone through her tears saw her Master before He ascended to the Father, who is also our Father and God as Jesus said, when He took the universe in his Hand because He was risen from the dead.
Rejoice o women of forgiveness and glory. VIVIT – Jesus lives!