This story about Jesus meeting Mary Magdalene on that first Easter morning is truly wonderful. The famous scholar CH Dodd writes this about it: “I cannot rid myself of the feeling that this passage has something indefinably firsthand about it. It stands in any case alone. There is nothing quite like it in the gospels. Is there anything quite like it in all ancient literature?”
Indeed there is not. Where else do we find a story with so dramatic a turn, when at the sound of her own name, a woman goes from the absolute pit of total despair to the absolute height of overwhelming elation? The story speaks to the power and impact of the resurrection for all of us, not just for Mary, but for the whole world. In this turn of events, the human destiny shifts from certain destruction to certain hope, weeping and sorrow to joy and life.
We still live in the "not yet." We still live in the veil of tears in which we must face all kinds of suffering, sorrow and even death. But Easter means that “the turn of the story” has happened. The plot has shifted, and we are now moving toward life. This Sunday, we celebrate with deep joy what God has accomplished for us in raising Jesus from the dead.
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
John 20:1-3, 11-18 (ESV)
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.