[Mary] saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. (John 20:12-18)
Mary didn’t recognize Jesus at first. Her grief had blinded her; she couldn’t see him because she didn’t expect to see him. Then he spoke her name, and immediately she recognized him. Imagine the love that flooded her heart when she heard her Savior saying her name. One of the worst days of her life turned into the best day of her life—and consequently ours. Jesus was alive again! She did not meet the risen Jesus until she had discovered the empty tomb. She responded with joy and obedience by going to tell the disciples.
Mary did not want to lose Jesus again. She had not yet understood the Resurrection. Perhaps she thought this was his promised second coming (John 14:3). But Jesus did not want to be detained at the tomb. If he did not ascend to heaven, the Holy Spirit could not come. Both he and Mary had important work to do.
Imagine yourself in Mary’s place, waiting at the tomb after the agony of losing your beloved teacher and friend. What would you say if you saw the risen Jesus? How would you share the good news of his resurrection with others? How does the Resurrection help you understand God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises?