The account of Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene sharpens our focus on exactly who Jesus is.
In the morning, nearsighted people fumble on the bedside table for their glasses. They put them on once they get out of bed so they don’t run into the furniture or step on a forgotten Lego. Farsighted people hold the menu at arm’s length in order to clearly distinguish what the chef is offering.
On that first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene was unable to see things clearly. She and Jesus had some serious history. After Jesus had driven seven demons out of her, she had followed him throughout his ministry, financially supporting him. Mary thought he could be the One, the promised Messiah, and then watched him crucified on a cross like a common criminal.
Now she had traveled to the tomb with other women to finish the burial of Jesus. Somehow she was left alone in her sorrow. As she leaned into the tomb, eyes blurred with tears, she didn’t recognize the two angels sent to report the good news. The misunderstandings continued as she turned around and saw Jesus. The man whom she had followed for almost three years was unrecognizable to her. Overwhelmed with anxiety and grief, her vision was out of focus.
Where Mary’s sight failed her, her hearing did not. With one simple word, Jesus changed everything for Mary. Grief was replaced with hope. Sadness with joy. Anxiety with a peace that surpassed understanding. Although questions remained, Mary could now see clearly. As Jesus called her name, she saw Jesus for who he truly was—the promised Messiah, crucified and resurrected for her.
Our risen Savior
Life in this broken, sinful world fills our eyes with tears as well. Tears of grief and despair blur our vision and cause us to lose focus of who Jesus is. Our life is turned upside down, and we want our Savior to turn it back the way it was. Sickness comes, and we want Jesus to heal us. Certainly Jesus is the one who should fix our fragmented earthly relationships. But we forget that Jesus didn’t come to fix life in this world; instead, he came to secure our place in the life to come.
The account of Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene sharpens our focus on exactly who Jesus is. Jesus is a dear friend. This Jesus who appeared to his friend in a moment of distress is the same Jesus who walks beside us in our darkest moments.
As Jesus called her name, [Mary] saw Jesus for who he truly was—the promised Messiah.
Yet if that’s all we see, we miss the best part of the story. Jesus is alive. Fresh off a victory over sin, death, and the devil, Jesus stood before Mary—alive. Sin could not entangle him, and death could not hold him. His victory became Mary’s victory, our victory, and the victory of all who through faith know Jesus as the crucified, resurrected Savior.
Although we must continue to wade through the grief, pain, and anxiety of this world, we can do so in light of the empty tomb. Battles remain, but the victory is won. All the worries about our current chapter of life are replaced with absolute certainty about how the story will end. Because Jesus lives, we will live.
So we battle, and we wait. We focus our eyes on our Savior and wait for the day when he will call our name. His call will summon us to leave our tombs and rise to glory. As Jesus ushers us into his kingdom, those blurry tears will be in the past as we see our risen Savior face-to-face for eternity.
Author: Katherine L. Martin
Volume 109, Number 04
Issue: April 2022