Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
In these verses we see Mary’s deep love for Jesus. The going away of Peter and John commends Mary’s staying. She was the first to the grave, then she goes to tell the disciples, she returns to the grave with them, and at the grave she remains without them–an unwavering love which, as we will discover, was richly rewarded by the Lord. As we in faith draw closer to Jesus, He will draw closer than anyone we have ever known. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Mary knew this.
“All believers have not the same degree of faith, or hope, or knowledge, or courage, or wisdom; and it is vain to expect it. But it is a certain fact that those who love Christ most fervently, and cleave to Him most closely, will always enjoy most communion with Him, and feel most of the witness of the Spirit in their hearts. It is precisely those who wait on the Lord, in the temper of Mary Magdalene, to whom the Lord will reveal Himself most fully, and make them know and feel more than others.”
(John Charles Ryle)
-C. H. Spurgeon
Jesus was the object of Mary’s affections. Her strong love for Him kept her at the tomb–while others left–with a flicker of hope that something or someone might turn up to explain where her Master’s body had gone. She could not tear herself away from the last place His body had been seen.
Take It to Heart
While Jesus’ identity may have at first been veiled from Mary’s desperate eyes, there was certainly no missing the sound of him speaking her name. One single word–one very personal word–was enough to deliver her from her present blindness. Jesus sees Mary’s genuine, persevering love for Him. He is the solitary aim of her soul and He rewards her consuming love. He always does.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love … he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust …But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:8-14; 17-18)