Among the gospel writers it is a unanimous fact that Mary Magdalene is the first of the disciples to see Jesus risen and spread the news that he was back from the dead. All four gospel writers mention that on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, she makes her way to the tomb (where mercy resides).
In John’s gospel, she first spreads word that the tomb is empty. This leads Peter and the beloved disciple to go off on a foot race to the tomb. Mary is also on her way there though. Peter and the beloved disciple see peer inside the tomb and only find the burial clothes. They both walk away from the tomb amazed at what had happened, but still not convinced beyond all doubt that Jesus had been risen. Mary ends up staying by the tomb alone. It says that she “bent” over into the tomb and it is then that she sees two angels.
Presumably, she does not return with Peter and the other disciple because she is simply too distraught to go anywhere. She is emotionally weakened; she cannot make the trek back to where she is staying just yet. Her Rabbi was killed. He was the one who restored her from seven demons, the one who she traveled with for several years. Now all she wants to do is anoint his body properly while saying one last farewell. Even that is taken from her because someone has seemingly taken Jesus’ body from his resting place.
In her uncontrollable weeping there appears a man that seems to be one of the gardeners. She asks him to tell her where he placed the body so she can go and give Jesus the proper preparations for burial. This is evidence that she has no inkling that Christ was going to be coming back, she is convinced that he is gone forever. In Mary’s mind, all is lost. It is only then that Jesus says to her, “Mary!” (John 20:16). Once a personal connection is made between her and Jesus, once she hears his voice, she knows exactly who it is in front of her. It is not the gardener. This is her teacher, it is the Lord.
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