Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
There sure are a lot of people named Mary involved in the ministry of Jesus. John's Gospel identifies the Mary known as "Magdalene" as the one who is first to not find Jesus on the first day of the week after the crucifixion.
Her expectation was that Jesus would be lying in the tomb, dead. Yet she went anyway. In her time of grief, she may have just wanted to look upon him one more time, or to make sure nobody had done anything with the body. The Synoptic Gospels suggest that she was not alone and that they were planning to make sure the burial customs with ointments and spices were completed all the way.
However it shook out, John wants to be sure we know she went to the tomb, and she arrived there early, before it was light. When she didn't find Jesus, she brought that news to the other disciples.
After some investigation, they went home, but Mary stayed outside the tomb, weeping. She didn't believe the resurrection. She thought Jesus had not only died and remained dead, but that his body had been stolen. This is troubling news indeed.
I wonder if we can rightly appreciate her joy. When Jesus came to her and made himself known to her she realized that he was not only alive, but right there with her. He let Mary be the first eyewitness of the resurrection, and sent her to tell the others. In this sense she was the first evangelist who spoke as a witness to the resurrection.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Mary's message has not changed over the years. She saw the Lord, risen from the dead, perfectly alive. He remains the risen Lord. The message of resurrection is for you and for me, for all people in every generation. It is the message which speaks of the hope all Christians have of rising with their Lord on the last day.
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