Mary has always been one of my favorite characters in the Easter story. Her devotion. Her faith. Her willingness to obey Jesus’ instruction to tell the Disciples what must have seemed positively ludicrous.
The moment when she goes from thinking Jesus is a hired garden hand, to hearing him speak her name…hearing Jesus say her name.
She wraps her arms around his feet—an act of worship, love, and hanging on. “I’ll never let you go again.”
Let go, Mary. Everything that was is gone…behold I make all things NEW!
Yes, I’m leaving, but I’ll never be gone and you will never be alone. My Spirit will always be with you.
Hmmm…isn’t there a Christmas song like that?
Can you hear him speaking your name? Will you share the incredible news: He is not here. He is risen!
Holy Week begins with Jesus making an surprising entry and ends with an amazing exit. And rocks play an important part in both. On the way in Jesus tells the shushing Pharisees that even if his followers are silenced the rocks will cry out. Then at the tomb, it is a rock that introduces them to the resurrection: the stone is rolled away!
So while it appears that the rocks are the stars, let us never forget: Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected.
The women came to the tomb to care for his body. They came out of love. They came in their grief. They did not expect To be told he was not there. They definitely did not expect to be told he was alive!
In the gospel of John we find the account of Mary’s encounter with the risen Jesus. He asks her why she is weeping. She’s confused, by the empty tomb and the absurdity of the question. She wants to know where Jesus is. He asks again and asks who she is looking for. Still unaware she answers that she wants to know where they have taken his body. She’s thinking this has to be a cruel joke.
Then Jesus speaks her name. And she knows. All doubt, all fear, all confusion is instantly and totally erased. She runs to tell the others.
I’ve just seen Jesus.
We will see who we are looking for.
Who will you look for this Resurrection morning?
Jesus, Messiah, the Christ. The King. The risen Lord. The breaker of bread. The living water. The light of the world. The way, the truth, the life.