Open Your Bible
Luke 8:1-3, Mark 15:37-47, John 20:1-18, Colossians 1:9-14
BY Erin Davis
As a little girl, bad dreams always drove me to make a beeline for my parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night. I’d wiggle my tiny body in between my mom and dad, and only then would my racing pulse steady. As I listened to the rhythms of my parents’ breathing, or saw the silhouettes of their faces in the moonlight, the memories of my nightmare would begin to fade. They didn’t even have to wake up for me to feel comforted. It was their presence that made the difference.
Mary Magdalene was a woman who sought the presence of Jesus. When Jesus traveled from town to town delivering the good news, Mary traveled with Him. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary stood nearby. After His death, while His disciples scattered and hid, Mary stayed close to her Savior. She watched as Christ’s body was placed in a borrowed tomb.
Though Mary’s conversion is mysterious, we know she knew the sorrows that result from a life lived far from God. And if the nightmares of that previous life came howling, I imagine she found comfort in the nearness of her Savior, even after His death.
On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early,
while it was still dark (John 20:1).
I wonder what Mary experienced after Jesus’s death. Perhaps she tried to sleep but couldn’t. Perhaps images of her bruised and bloodied Healer rushed to the surface every time she closed her eyes. Maybe she’d spent the moonlit hours pacing, trying to shake the hopelessness that wanted to settle into the deepest crevices of her heart. Did she allow herself to think about life without Him and sigh, distraught?
Before the sun even dared to rise, Mary joined Salome and Mary, the mother of James, to anoint Christ’s body with spices (Mark 16:1). She wasn’t in denial about His death; she’d seen His lifeless body tucked into the dark tomb. But she felt compelled to join the other women in this act of care, and so she went to Him again, all the while wondering who would roll away the stone blocking them from His body. When she arrived, what she found was an empty tomb—and there, she met her risen Savior, before turning on her heel and running away to declare to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18).
How does a demon-possessed woman become the first proclaimer of the resurrection? She had been with Jesus. What was true of Mary is true for each of us: we all need the presence of Jesus. In His presence is peace and abundant joy (Psalm 16:11). May we seek and pursue Him as relentlessly as Mary did, confident His nearness will provide the comfort we crave.