Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
I love this passage. I love Mary’s heart, her persistence. Mary stayed where she knew Jesus to be; in His death, in what she thought was His disappearance. She stayed.
“While it was still dark”
She had to be near Him. Even when she thought it was all over, she was all in. Like Peter the disciple voiced for all of Jesus’ followers, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68)
What else did she have? Where else could she be found but with Jesus?
Because she stayed, even when hope had been shattered, Mary had the honor of being the first to encounter the risen Jesus and share His resurrection with the world.
When your life is in shambles and the very things you have built your life upon seem to be destroyed, stay where you know Jesus to be. Where in your life did you last encounter Him? What of Jesus do you know to be true? Listen for Him there.
As the world around us wars and rages and aches and burns–Steady now. Believe.
Even when He seems quiet.
Even when He seems dead.
Even while it is still dark.
Stay close by.
There you’ll find yourself a witness to Resurrection.