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The Brokenhearted Mary Magdalene

In our short daily meditations, we are looking at John’s testimony of what the resurrection of Christ was like for the followers of Jesus at the time it happened. After John and Peter ran to the tomb, Mary was possibly exhausted after running, and she may have run to others with the news as well. When she caught her breath, she hurried back to the tomb, trying to make sense of what had happened. If Mary heard the angel tell the good news of Jesus being alive, she certainly did not understand it. John and Peter had already left when she got back to the tomb:

10Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. 11Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot (John 20:10-12).

Many of us have heard the resurrection account so many times that it has become very familiar to us. We find it hard to imagine what it was like for the disciples that first resurrection morning. The concept of the resurrected Jesus was one they still failed to grasp, despite the Lord's attempts to inform them ahead of time as to what would happen. Mary Magdalene could not accept the thought, perhaps because it was too fantastic to believe. Psychologists call this state of mind Cognitive Dissonance, a mental discomfort that comes when your beliefs run counter to new information that you receive. How could Jesus be alive when she so clearly saw Him crucified? (Matthew 27:56). How can a person overcome death? Her only thought was the urgency to find her Lord’s body. The body was no longer there, and the only reasonable explanation was that it was stolen from the tomb!

Mary Magdalene was a woman delivered of seven demons by the Lord Jesus (Mark 16:9). Such gratitude for her deliverance welled up with a sincere love for the Lord because of the grace, mercy, and power He had bestowed on her. Whosoever is forgiven much, loves much. It is a beautiful thought that the Lord appeared first to a woman who had been in the depths of sin and evil, now transformed by the grace and power of God. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Apart from the Christian faith, all religions look down on women as not reputable witnesses, but not so with Jesus. He elevates women to equal citizens in the kingdom of God (Galatians 3:28).

Mary Magdalene is a picture of the very people Christ has come to save. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). It was a traumatic experience for Mary to witness Jesus crucified (Mark 15:40), and undoubtedly many tears were shed that weekend. In front of the tomb that morning, her emotions got the better of her again. John tells us that she stood outside the tomb, crying (John 20:2). This word, “crying,” is the Greek word klaiõ, and it indicates more of a loud lamentation than a quiet sobbing. When she looked inside the tomb, she saw two angels seated at the foot and the head of the empty cocoon-like strips of burial cloth. The Roman soldiers were gone at this point, having been terrified at the sight of the two angels, but Mary was in emotional shock and only had one thought on her mind: “Where is the Lord?” For all those who long for His appearance, Mary's cry resonates with ours, "Where is the Lord?" Genuine believers want an end to the way of this world, the evil that we see, and the injustice that runs rampant. Come, Lord Jesus, we long for your presence and deliverance! Let's look at Jesus revealing Himself to Mary tomorrow. Keith Thomas


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