GETTING THE MESSAGE/Mary’s love for Jesus
We are looking at John 20:11-16 this week. The Lord Jesus, having been raised from the dead, appears to His devoted servant Mary Magdalene in this passage. The first thing we notice is the love that Mary had for Jesus.
She hurried to the tomb where Jesus was buried very early on the first day of the week so that she might honor Him by anointing His body (John 20:1). Finding the stone removed from the tomb, she ran to Peter and John, who were stunned when they came and saw the empty tomb and grave clothes. They went home, but Mary lingered around the tomb (verse 11).
Full of grief, she looks in the tomb and sees two angels in white. They ask her why she is weeping. Mary is so preoccupied with what has happened to Jesus she doesn’t seem to be fazed by being in the presence of holy beings. Mary tells them she doesn’t know where her Lord is. This is something she cannot bear.
Here is a woman who loves Jesus. In Mary we see the example of one who loved much because she owed much. Jesus had delivered her from the oppression of demons. She believed he was the Christ, the Savior of the world. She called Him “Lord,” yet she did not yet understand why He had to die.
We can only imagine how Mary reacted when she later learned that Jesus had paid the debt of her sin on the cross so that she might be with Him forever, and never again be dismayed about where He is. Jesus had reconciled her to God, taking away the enmity between them. The deliverance from demons was synonymous with forgiveness of her sins. Do you know something of this love for Christ?
Jesus bound Himself by saying that the one who seeks Him will find Him. He will honor those who honor Him. We see that with Mary. Mary was the first person Jesus appeared to when He was raised from the dead. We will reap as we sow. If you seek after Christ in your life, you will be filled. If you thirst after lesser things, you will discover that they are empty cisterns. Let Mary be our example, having souls zealous to honor Christ. Her pursuit of the Lord was not in vain.
The second thing we see is Christ’s love for Mary. In verse 14, Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. She thinks He is the gardener, the caretaker of the place. She pleads with Him to show her where the body of Jesus is.
The Lord Jesus responds by calling her name, “Mary.” Mary turns to Him and exclaims, “Rabboni” or teacher, the honorific she used for Jesus. She instantly melted at hearing her name; the recognition of the voice of the Lord pulsed through her soul.
The calling of Christ by her name is significant for many reasons. First, it is a call of love. We love Him because He first loved us. We are completely dependent upon His initiative. The aim of Christ giving Himself on the cross is that we might be made fit for God and brought to Him. He did this from love, to purge us from all iniquity and give us the joy of knowing God.
Second, it is a call to life. In John 11, Jesus called to the dead Lazarus in the tomb to come forth, and the dead man arose and came. Sinners are said to be “dead in their trespassed and sins” (Ephesians 2). There must be a principle of life put in us to hear Jesus and come to Him. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t infuse life into our souls. We must come to Christ. He gives us life that is truly life.
Third, the call of Jesus is into the light of God. In the epistles the apostles repeatedly speak of Christians having been delivered out of darkness into the light of the kingdom of God. It is the Lord who puts light into our souls (2nd Corinthians 4:6). It’s a terrible thing to be in darkness, but it is a blessed thing to walk in the light of the Lord.
Fourth, this is a call to blessedness. Mary responds to the voice of Jesus calling her by name by clinging to Him. There are no greater riches to the soul than embracing Christ in love. Christ is utterly precious to a renewed soul. We need to apply this particularly to ourselves. If we believe in Christ and know Christ, then He has called us by name. Your name is written in the book of life. You have every reason Mary had to make the Lord Jesus your chief portion, your chief good and ambition in this life.