Reading: John 20: 1-18
Verse 18: Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, “I have seen the Lord”!
In the original garden, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. They had a close, personal relationship. Their sin cost them much: they were forced from the garden. With sin, death also entered the world. We fast forward to another garden, this time the garden of Gethsemane. In a moment of weakness, we find a human Jesus worried about death. He does not want to die. The physical part of Jesus knows what it will be like to be crucified. But Jesus masters the fear and prepares to walk to the cross. The divine Jesus triumphs and He is willing to drink of the cup for us. The cup represents the new covenant, made with His blood. This cup of forgiveness is for all who call on Jesus as Lord and Savior. His blood was “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). The sin that had entered in the first garden is defeated by Christ on the cross. In the new covenant, we are freed from the power of sin.
Today’s story takes place in another garden. Hope seemed lost. Mary and the disciples have seen that the tomb is empty, but the do not understand. The one they called “Messiah” – Savior of the world – was gone. Mary stands alone, weeping. Then angels appear, almost to announce what happens next. Mary turns and asks for the body. “Mary”. Jesus speaks her name. “Mary”. With her name spoken, suddenly she knows it is Jesus. She knows His voice. He calls her by name. In John 10:14, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”. At His voice, Mary knows it is Jesus. On the cross, Jesus defeated sin. From the grave, He defeats death.
Jesus continues to call out, calling us each by name. He calls us by name, into a personal relationship with Him. When we open our hearts to Jesus, He comes and dwells within us. In this relationship, we know Jesus, just as He knows us. In this relationship, we experience what He experienced – victory over sin and death. May we join many, proclaiming what Mary proclaimed: “I have seen the Lord”! Hallelujah and amen! He is risen! He is alive!!