Text: John 20:11-18, Psalm 27:4-10, Isaiah 55:6-7
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
- John 20:15a, ESV
You know that feeling you get right before your favorite part of your favorite movie? The main character is finally on the verge of the epiphany you’ve been waiting an hour for, and you know what’s coming. Your shoulders tense and you hold your breath. You lean in a little closer so you don’t miss it.
That’s exactly how I feel about this scene from the gospel of John. I know the story. I know what Mary Magdalene will find when she looks inside the tomb. I know the identity of the man she supposes to be the gardener. Yet, each time I read the story, I exhale after the same word, every time:
He spoke her name. The Son of God, now raised from His own grave, made His very first post-resurrection appearance to a formerly demon-possessed woman named Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2).
Why Mary? Why did Jesus choose her as the other character in this glorious, theater-worthy scene at the grave? Scripture doesn’t give us the answer to that question, but my heart can’t help but think it’s this:
Mary was a seeker. She sought after Jesus.
Mary saw the stone was rolled away, her Savior missing from the tomb – and she went in to look for Him anyway.
Two angels dressed in glowing white greeted her and most folks would have run – but Mary went to them weeping, asking for her Lord.
Then a face she could not recognize through her tears asked why she was sad, and Mary didn’t even answer the question. She jumped right to the seeking.
“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” (v.15, emphasis mine)
Mary was simply and sincerely seeking her Lord. She sought Him when He was living, and she sought Him after He died. She sought Him relentlessly, even through the pain and confusion of a freshly broken heart.
Mary did not yet know the “why” of what was happening, but she knew this: she needed to find Jesus.
She sought Him, and He spoke her name.
He saw her, He knew her.
She called for Him and He called back to her.
I long to seek Jesus that way. I want to look for Him with all I am, even when circumstances make the search feel futile. Like Mary, I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to give in, I don’t want to walk away shrugging. And when my heart is broken and I can’t see past my tears? I want to seek Him all the more.
I want to call out to the One who saw me and saved me at my worst, and hear Him call back to me.
Jesus knows my name. And, sister, He knows yours.
Let’s relentlessly seek Him today.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
- Psalm 27:8, NASB