“They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Mary Magdalene had had seven demons cast out of her. She’d been smiled upon by God, this little woman of hopelessness and sin. Mary had been found. Recovered. And while maybe the Pharisees would sneer at the uneducated carpenter’s son and his lowlife Galilean followers, she adored her Jesus. She obeyed her Jesus. She had no one but her Jesus. She believed He was her only hope, and Israel’s, too. This was the Son of David. The Messiah.
And then two days ago something happened.
Mary had watched Him mocked, stripped, and executed. Everyone had spat and jeered and laughed as He hung up in the air and died in front of His mother and a snarling throng of people who hated Him. It had been a spectacle. And now, her Jesus was gone. So she stood outside the tomb that a nice man had bought for His body. Her soul’s hope was fractured, busted all out of joint. The King who’d redeemed her, the Holy One of God she was sure would make the world better, and make her better right along with it, had been humiliated and killed. Her only friend and Lord was now a murdered man.
She had come to anoint the body, because that’s the sort of thing you do when you love somebody from way down in the deep places. But the body wasn’t there. And when they’d seen it was stolen, Peter and John, the men, had run.
Here’s a thought I think I’ve shared with Mary Magdalene, the sister I haven’t met yet: I’m standing here alone, frustrated, terribly frightened, confused. I have no idea where to go or whom to turn to. Why am I deserted? Why can’t I figure this out? Why am I left here hollow, sad, and ignorant? Why is it so quiet, and why am I alone?
Maybe they stole His body because they were going to deface it and mock it the way the Gibeonites had once done to the dead sons of Saul. Maybe they were just wicked and stupid and cruel, and had thrown Him into an open grave. Scoffers who didn’t understand Him. Who didn’t treasure what she treasured.
Not even a body to anoint and say goodbye to. And now where could she go? Who would have her? The only Shepherd who’d ever wanted her had been struck down. The religious leaders certainly wouldn’t take her.
Maybe the demons wouldn’t even want her, now.
Alone in a graveyard. Not even Peter and John had stayed.
But one of the most beautiful sentences of the Bible is coming.
Mary was alone, like she had been before Jesus. So she wept, because that was all she could do, since there was nothing to anoint. Nothing left but to let sadness be sadness.
Well, that and to look.
“She stopped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.'”
My Lord. See, when you’ve been reborn, when your heart’s been cracked open like Mary’s had, you only have one Lord. There’s no one and nothing else for you in this world. Wherever He is, you’ll go. Mary had only one person to turn to.
And so she turned to Him.
“When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there.”
She saw Jesus standing there.
Be with Mary there, by that tomb, for just a minute. Feel the joy she must have had thrumming in her chest once she realized it was Him, her Jesus and her treasure, a few seconds later. Once she realized that the only One who’d ever been able to save her was alive, forever alive. That no one could kill Jesus, though many try. Stand with Mary there for a minute, and look to the same One she did.
I’ll make you a promise, and I’m not big on making promises. No one will ever stop Jesus. Those demons never get to grip Mary’s mind again, because once the Christ has found you, you have been truly found. Once the Messiah’s freed you, you are free indeed. They can nail Him to a Cross, but they can’t keep Him there; and they can’t unrescue Mary Magdalene. She will be presented to the Father by her Jesus. Because the treasuring thing works both ways, you see. Mary treasured Jesus. And for entirely different reasons and in an infinitely deeper way, Jesus treasured Mary.
My promise: No one will ever stop Mary’s Jesus. My Jesus. He will do all He set out to do. He will recover all He set out to recover.
No one can stop Mary’s Jesus.
So turn around. He’s there.