But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she 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 in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
I have always loved this passage in the New Testament. I love that Mary Magdalene bravely goes to the tomb while the disciples hide in fear. I love that Jesus trusts her to tell the disciples He has risen. In my mind’s eye, I see Mary racing off to share the good news to the disciples only to be met with skepticism and doubt about the veracity of her story.
Do you remember Gladys Kravitz from “Bewitched,” the popular television show in the ’60s and ’70s? Gladys is the nosy neighbor who lives across the street from the Stephens family and always sees strange activity at the Stephens’ house. She suspects that Mrs. Stephens is performing witchcraft on a regular basis, but no one believes her. Gladys knows what she sees, she knows what she hears, but her stories sound so unbelievable that she can’t convince anyone else of the truth – that Mrs. Stephens is indeed a witch.
I imagine that is how Mary Magdalene felt too as she ran off to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection with the disciples. It is a story too far-fetched to believe. For many of the disciples, it is only when Jesus appears in the Upper Room that they believe He has indeed risen. How exasperating for Mary. It is no wonder that Jesus says to doubting Thomas in the Upper Room, in this same chapter, just verses later, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
That, my friends, is us. We are they who have not seen and yet still believe. Two thousand years later we proclaim that Jesus has risen because Mary Magdalene bravely proclaimed it first. Thanks be to God.
Be like Mary. Be bold with your proclamation. Share with others the good news every chance you get. The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!
Dear Lord, death and the grave could not hold you. By your resurrection, we too can live. Because of your sacrifice on our behalf, the grave is only a journey into your holy presence. We can never adequately thank you for this gift, but help us to proclaim the good news, as Mary Magdalene did, every chance we get: The Lord has risen! Amen.