There’s Something About Mary (John 20:11-18)

small__5963445736When Jesus rose from the dead, to whom did he first show himself to? If you were Jesus to whom would you go first? It is interesting to note:

He showed Himself first to Mary Magdalene, and not to the chief priests. I might have gone to the chief priests first so that I could gloat: “you wanted me dead, but couldn’t pull it off! Na, na, na, na, na, na!” But Jesus did not go there, he went to Mary.

He showed Himself first to Mary, and not to Pilate. I might have gone to Pilate first to prove my point: “See I told you my Kingdom is not of this world! You should have listened to me and not the mob!” But Jesus did not go there, he went to Mary.

He showed Himself first to Mary, and not to Tiberius Caesar, the emperor. I might have gone to the emperor first to serve notice: “You may be the emperor, but I am the King of kings, and Lord of lords, so listen up, and shape up!” But Jesus did not go there, he went to Mary.

He showed Himself first to Mary Magdalene, and not to Mary, His mother. I might have gone to console my Mum first: “Take comfort.” But Jesus did not, he went to another Mary.

He showed Himself first to Mary, and not to John, “the beloved disciple,”. I might have gone to such a close friend first: “Let’s celebrate.” But Jesus did not, he went to Mary.

He showed Himself first to Mary, and not to Peter of whom He said ” on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). I might have gone to such a key future leader of the Church first: “Let’s plan.” But Jesus did not, he went to Mary.

There’s something about Mary that Jesus should choose to show Himself to her first. What is it?

  1. Mary Magdalene is not a prominent person, she lives in the background. There is nothing truly remarkable about Mary. In the New Testament writings she does not figure prominently, in fact beyond the resurrection appearance she only gets passing mentions. She does not have power like the rulers, she does not figure prominently in the Gospels like the disciples. Isn’t it encouraging to know that the first person Jesus showed Himself to was not a prominent person, but someone more like you and I?
  2. Mary Magdalene is a woman. In that place and time it was a man’s world. It is truly astonishing that a woman should be chosen as the first to see Jesus alive. It may have been a man’s world, but this was not to be a man’s Church.
  3. Mary Magdalene is a person with a questionable background. At one point she was possessed by seven demons (Luke 8:2). My youngest so recently announced that some day he wants to be the Prime Minister of Canada. “You had better be well behaved then son,” was my reply, “for they will be digging for dirt on you.” While we may have a tendency to dig for dirt on others, it does not matter what you have lurking in your past, Jesus will meet with you today.
  4. Mary Magdalene is a person in need. She is weeping, actually wailing might be a better term. As you read through John 20:11-18 you get the impression she is overcome with grief plus being distraught over the indignity of a missing body. When you are in need, you are a priority to Jesus. He may not lift you out of times of distress, but will call your name and walk with you through it.
  5. Mary Magdalene is a person who is seeking Jesus. While yes, she is looking for a corpse and not expecting the Risen Lord, nevertheless, she is devoted to Him. Seek Him and you shall be found.

Yes, there’s something about Mary! And there’s something that changes about Mary. She went from seeking to care for Jesus’ corpse, to being cared for by Jesus. She went from calling Jesus “teacher,” (v.16) to calling Him “Lord” (v.18). She went from being a person in the background, to being the very first apostle, sent by Jesus to tell the disciples of the good news (vv.17-18). There’s something about Mary. I’m not a betting person, but I bet there’s something about you also.

photo credit: Lawrence OP via photopin cc

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