April 13 I Monday
1 Samuel 22-24
“He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’” —John 20:15
Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene was one of the first people to discover the stone was rolled away and the body of Jesus was gone. Before Mary encountered Jesus, we are told she was possessed. But her life changed when she met Jesus because “…He had cast out [her] seven demons” (Mark 16:9, ESV). Being demon possessed is a horrific thing, therefore, when Mary had been delivered and released by Jesus, she became one of His followers and travelled with Him along with other women and the twelve disciples. Mary had come on this journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, but at the sight of the empty tomb, all Mary was left with were memories of Jesus’s teachings, miracles and life.
Mary knew that simply having memories of Jesus was not enough. If all we have is a memory of Jesus’s teaching, we might have a wonderful ethic and philosophy by which to live our life but that is all there is. If it was simply memories of Jesus’s miracles, we might recognize that these are evidence that God was with Him and God was at work in Him but every day, these miracles recede further and further into history. If we only have memories of Jesus’s life, His compassion, His kindness and His love, we might say, “Well, He should be a model for me” and we may attempt to reproduce it. We could ask, “What would Jesus do?” But soon realize our disillusionment and bankruptcy because we cannot do what Jesus did.
As Mary stood outside the tomb weeping, the angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” We find this same question was asked again, but this time by Jesus, “Woman, why are you crying?” (John 20:13,15).
Mary was not only crying over Jesus’s physical death but at a deeper level, Mary was weeping over the fact that all she had was an empty dream to hold on to. There was no living Jesus to trust, to turn to, to love and be loved by. Mary was crying over the emptiness of her life. Whether the history was three days––which it was for Mary––or two thousand years, if we only have a Jesus who was, it will leave us powerless.
Some of us may resonate with Mary’s weeping as we stop and think hard about our life: where our life is, what is its meaning and what is its purpose. Deep in our hearts, we may be crying over the meaninglessness, brokenness and the lack of purpose. Yet, we can rejoice with meaning and purpose in our lives because we not only have a Jesus who was but a Jesus who is.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for giving me meaning and purpose to life. The fact that You are not dead but are very much alive makes me rejoice. Praise You!