In the Old Testament, perfect and spotless lambs had to be sacrificed to atone for human sin. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Lamb of God, willingly shed His own blood as a final sacrifice, taking away the sins of the world. In John 19 Jesus had just been brutally beaten and crucified on a cross, fulfilling multiple prophesies from the Old Testament. His body was mutilated yet not a bone was broken. After His death, He was taken to a tomb where He laid behind a large stone guarded by Roman soldiers.
Typically when we pick up a biography and read it through, the end of the story comes at no surprise with death and burial. But Jesus’ story isn’t finished at death. Being fully God and fully man, He continued with the miracle of resurrecting from the dead three days after His burial. This true historical event is the climax of the gospel message and an essential doctrine in the Christian faith. It has even been proven by non-Christian historians and eyewitnesses that all the events in the New Testament about Jesus’ resurrection are true. The empty tomb is God’s voucher to us that the full debt of our sins and the sins of the world have been paid.
Let’s look together at the Resurrection story and see the impact Christ had on the Mary.
John 20:11 -16
But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.”
14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?”
Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”— which means “Teacher.”
Can you imagine? Mary broken, distraught, perhaps even hopeless, is standing outside the tomb crying. Jesus, the one who had changed her life and brought hope to hopelessness is gone, not only dead but now missing.
All of us have experienced the tragedy of loss. We’ve lost family members, friends, even prominent world figures. When experiencing these losses we remember the times we shared with our loved ones, we reflect on the contributions they may have had on our lives (both good and bad) and we mourn their present and future absence on our lives. Here, on earth it is a final, we will no longer see them living, breathing or talking. In addition to all these emotions Mary also had stood by and watched helplessly as Jesus suffered and excruciating death before her very eyes. Most certainly, for Mary, all hope was lost.
Then it happens, the impossible becomes possible, Jesus standing, alive and talking to Mary. At first Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus but then Jesus calls her by name. Just take second today and let this soak in…. Looking at Jesus she did not recognize Him but when she heard Him call her name she knew at that moment it was Jesus! It was Jesus!! IT…WAS…JESUS!!! He’s alive!
John 10:27 says “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” Mary knew the Masters voice and has just gone from the pit of despair to the the pinnacle of life…she’s the first to see our risen Savior, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Mourning has turned to joy!
Can you imagine? Every year we celebrate Easter. How do we remember, reflect and rejoice the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us pray to have the same sheer joy that must’ve overwhelmed Mary. JESUS IS ALIVE!