The events leading up to the resurrection were filled with pain, suffering, and indescribable emotion. Even after the disciples fled the cross, a small group of women held firm. They stayed the course. They followed Jesus’ body to the tomb. They were there when everyone else had abandoned Him.
No doubt it was a hard place to be, but they were there until the end. And because they were faithful and used the opportunities given them, they were the first to witness the resurrection. God blessed their devotion and diligence.
For Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, and others, that morning was like none other. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, the women walked to the tomb. They talked about who would roll the stone away from the entrance. But when they arrived the large stone had already been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, the angels greeted them, and they were frightened.
You see the women had arrived with a plan to prepare Jesus’ body, only to find nothing was as it should have been.
Mary Magdalene had questions. Where was Jesus? Who had taken his body? Where had he been taken?
The angels saw her struggling to compose herself and asked her why she was crying. She told them someone had taken Jesus. Then the angels said to her, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6)
What a glorious moment this must have been for Mary Magdalene and the other women. When all else seemed bleak and without hope the angels delivered the most tender of messages that morning–Jesus was not in the tomb. Jesus arose from the grave, just as He promised.
Jesus showed the people that the hope He proclaimed in His Gospel message was real, and so was God’s power at work in the world. How reassuring for us to know He accomplishes all He has promised.
While the range of emotions experienced by the women on that morning so many years ago was tumultuous, Mary Magdalene and the others showed resolve, strength and courage. They stayed when no one else did.
And just when they needed answers most, it was the angels who told them that Jesus was alive.
“He is not here for He has risen, just as He said.” Matthew 28:6
Isn’t that just like God to do the same for us and provide answers when we need them most? We don’t always understand everything that happens, but we are assured that His timing and provision are perfect.
And then, the women encountered Jesus himself. Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Him at first, and then he greeted her. She turned toward Him and called out ‘Rabboni,’ (teacher) and went to Him immediately out of love and adoration.
It was then that Jesus told her, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers (disciples) and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God,’ ” (John 20:17)
Out of all the people Jesus could have asked to deliver the good news, He asked Mary Magdalene. Imagine the love that flooded her heart. She was chosen to share the good news and did so with joy and obedience.
She went to the disciples and told them all of the things that had happened and they spread the news that Jesus was alive.
This was a day for all eternity. Christ had indeed been raised from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:20) The resurrection shows us that the living Christ is the ruler of God’s eternal universe.
As we celebrate Easter we are reminded what Jesus endured for us to save us from our sin. The resurrection of Christ is the one thing that gives us hope; it is the one thing that makes our Christian life worth living.
As we look to the week ahead I hope we have the courage to do what those women did that day. I hope that even when we are challenged that we will stand firm in His word. I pray that we have the strength and courage of Mary Magdalene and the others to go out into the world and tell others about what Christ did for us.
The depth of His love is no secret. There is joy and victory in the resurrection of Christ. And our hope is in Him.
Christ the Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!
Blessings & Hugs–I’ll be praying for you.
*The Resurrection is recorded in all four Gospels: Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24 and John 20