Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 20:11a (Holman) But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. . .
If love is the concentration of purified desire toward an object, then love is what we see here in Mary. She could not leave the empty tomb. Love riveted her to the last place she had been seen Jesus’ body.
Mary was weeping, trapped in a nightmare. The whole world seemed to her like a cold dark empty grave.
She had lost not only Jesus, but also His body. She felt she had lost all that was left to love. When a loved one is gone, love directs itself to objects that remind us of the beloved – a picture, a ring, a note, a letter – anything can become precious to love. For Mary, this “something precious” was Jesus’ body.
John 20:11b-13 As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus’ body had been lying. They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.”
When Mary peeked in the tomb, the angels asked why was she weeping. They tried in vain to redirect her misdirected thoughts.
Mary had completely lost control. Can her broken heart not be healed? She had loved Jesus. All she has now is ashes. Isn’t there a better ending than this? Won’t someone please help this lady?
John 20:14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus decided to walk across the room, as it were, to take a short stroll in the garden. He came to help. Mary realized a man was approaching, but tears kept her from recognizing Him.
Mary did not know it yet, but Jesus had walked her way, returning to His own grave after He finished using it. He could not stay away. He had wept by a grave side (JN 11:35). He knew how badly Mary was hurting. Jesus could not stand to see her suffer any more. He came to heal a deeply wounded heart.
Due to the resurrection, Heaven was rejoicing, angels were on alert, disciples needed attention, Jesus had much to do. But He stopped everything and said, “Excuse Me a minute, I’m going to have to go help Mary.”
This scene should comfort us. Jesus comes to us when we weep. Our tears may blur His face, but He comes. He rules the Universe, makes decisions of cosmic significance, and receives the worship of Heaven, yet still stops everything, saying, “Excuse Me a minute, I’m going to have to go help a weeping one.”
John 20:15-16 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.”
It was time to break the spell grief had cast on her. By one word Jesus broke the shackle that bound her heart. He compressed the compassion of His heart into one word filled with a world of tender love.
An old familiar accent came back. Only one voice could say “Mary” like that. Startled by the well remembered inflection of her name, she responded to His word with another word, into which she compressed all the love within her. With one word, her heart was relieved.
Do we realize we could maybe walk across a room to bless someone else who is hurting? Our power to help heal a hurt is stronger than we realize. We carry Jesus in us. We can minister His heart to others.