John 20:10-18: I Have Seen the Lord
December 21, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Job 39, Haggai 1-2, John 20:10-18, Revelation 18
While the other disciples went home, Mary Magdalene, overcome with grief, stood outside the tomb weeping. Still weeping, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels. They were sitting where Jesus’ body had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. What a sight this must have been!
Marking the spot, angelically symbolizing the extraordinary event that had taken place, ready to give their heavenly witness to Mary as to what had taken place. Their question is almost incredulous: Why are you weeping? On this of all days! This day most to be rejoiced in!
But she is weeping because he does not yet understand, does not yet believe. She thinks someone has taken Jesus’ body. Again, notice the incredulous (not gullible) approach that the first eyewitnesses took to the empty tomb. They took no little convincing. Even seeing an angel or two was not by itself enough!
Then she turns around and sees Jesus. But she does not recognize him. There is no hint that Jesus has changed appearance sufficiently dramatically to make him completely unrecognizable; after all, in a moment she will recognize him. But Jesus standing there is the very last thing she would expect.
Her mind jumps to a possible conclusion: he is the gardener. And again she asks for the body of Jesus. Then Jesus speaks one word: “Mary.” No one else said it like he did. It is a wonderful thing for your name to be called by the One who loves you and whom you love. When that person is none other than Christ, the wonders never cease. She knew that voice. He called Mary in a way that only he could. And having heard her name thus spoken, the scales fell from her eyes and she was able to see. “Rabboni,” she said—meaning (John tells us) “teacher.” It was perhaps a diminutive form of Rabbi that is an affectionate way of saying teacher—equivalent to “my dear teacher.”
She, it appears, rushes to him to hug, but there is work to be done! Her job now is to go and tell others. She does so; she “announced” to the disciples that she had seen the Lord. When we encounter Christ, our right response is also not merely wonder and affection, but proclamation. The one who loves Jesus as Mary did, and is loved by Jesus as Mary was, will also tell others about Jesus as Mary did. “I have seen the Lord!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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