He is not here, but He is risen. Luke 24:6
Fear, grief, and confusion must have mingled together on the morning that Mary Magdalene first visited the tomb. I can almost picture it, still dark just before the sun peaks up over the horizon. Oh what a dawn it was going to be, but they did not know that yet. As they reached the tomb, they discovered that the stone had been rolled away. Quite a feat since the stone probably weighed more than a ton, and it would have needed to be pushed uphill.
When the angel spoke the words, “He is risen”, I wonder what thoughts went through their heads. Obviously, Mary lacked complete understanding because in John 20, she finds herself standing at the tomb for a second time on the same morning. And after everyone left, she remained weeping in deep grief over the loss of her Savior. Jesus was probably the only man who had shown any kind of love for her, as she was a prostitute and had been possessed with seven demons. Now, here at the tomb, she finds that she is all alone again.
As she hovers on the ground, bowed over with the grief of her loss, Jesus gently calls her name, "Mary." Oh the love, the grace, the mercy, the acceptance she must have felt in Him calling her by name. Recognition has its genesis in her thoughts and she knows it is Him.
Why was she the one that He appeared to first? Perhaps because of all those who followed Him, hers was the story that most showed God's great power to save. For who would believe a woman who had been soiled and demon-filled? She would have counted less than property. Worthless in the eyes of society, Jesus, God Himself, with this act revealed His own thoughts. She was valuable because her identity was in Him and not in what she had done.
What if Mary had not gone back that second time? Would she have missed what Jesus wanted to reveal? I find too often that I fail to go back and take a second look so that I too might gain a greater understanding of what the resurrection means. Sin and death have been conquered. A new dawn has come with a sweet acceptance from a Savior who will call me by name and give me a brand new identity no matter what my past holds. What inexplicable joy and peace!
This new day brings with it the light of the risen Christ dawning in the darkness of the world.
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Take a second look at resurrection and what it means to you as believer. How are you allowing the resurrection to change how you live your life?
God, thank you so much for raising Jesus from the dead. Thank you for showing me that you can breathe new life into me and that you are a God that keeps His promises. Help me to live my life in a way that reflects the hope resurrections gives. In Jesus name, Amen.
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