I Have Seen the Lord
Sharon W. Betters
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her (Luke 23:11-18).
I think we are a lot like the disciples and Mary. Mary’s emotions roiled like a roller coaster. Though the angels appeared to her, spoke to her, and told her Jesus had risen from the dead, she stayed by the tomb, unconvinced that Jesus was actually alive (Luke 23:11-18).
Mary weeps, perhaps the kind of subdued, resigned, hopeless crying of a broken woman. She looks into the empty tomb again, trying to determine what happened. Nothing makes sense. She sees the two angels who ask her why she is weeping. Mary responds:
They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him (Luke 23:13).
Notice how Mary calls Jesus “Lord”. Though she does not understand what has happened, her love for and trust in Jesus does not waver. He is her Lord. When she turns and sees Jesus, she does not recognize Him. Isn’t this also like us? Jesus promises He will never leave or forsake us, yet we often are blind to His presence because life is not turning out as we hoped. But Jesus does not turn away. He doesn’t rebuke her or condemn her for little faith. Instead, He asks her the same question as the angels:
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” (Luke 23:15a).
He invites her questions and helps her identify the root of her sorrow. Though she hears His voice (as we do through His Word), she still does not recognize His presence:
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away” (Luke 23:15b).
Jesus gently pursues Mary, and when He says her name, she knows He is her Lord:
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (Luke 23:16a).
What an emotional picture of life-giving love. Jesus moves Mary from misery to mercy to ministry:
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her (Luke 23:17-18).
Jesus’ resurrection transforms Mary’s misery into joy. Previously, Mary had experienced total mercy, washing over every part of her. Now Jesus commissions her to “go and tell”. In other words, minister to your brothers with the confidence, I am alive!
I hope you see yourself in Mary. The enemy pursues each of us like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Though we don’t call it demon possession, we live in a broken world, enslaved by sin. Then Jesus calls our name and breathes new life into our souls. If we truly grasp our own wickedness and embrace the forgiveness Jesus offers, we experience resurrection power. He moves us from misery to mercy. We have no choice but to gladly follow Him in ministry, walking in obedience, and serving His body which is the church. Like Mary, when life crashes down, we will doubt, our emotions out of control, questioning whether anything we have believed about Jesus is true. Jesus pursues us and, through His Word speaks truth and love and redemption.
As we draw nearer to Easter, I pray your joy will overflow, as we know Mary's did when she heard Jesus call her by name.
Oh Lord, thank you for the resurrection power You demonstrate every time You bring one of us from death to life. When we doubt or feel the brunt of this broken world, may we listen for You to call our name.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.