Have you ever tried to share your story of encountering Jesus to those who wouldn’t believe it? Then, you know how Mary Magdalene must have felt. She was the first one to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection that Easter Sunday. Mark tells us what happened:
“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they did not believe it.” Mark 16:9-11 (NIV)
Why wouldn’t they believe her? Was it because of her past reputation? I mean who believes someone that once had seven demons? Reputations can be hard to shake even when our lives have been changed by the grace of God. People still judge. But, Jesus didn’t! He chose to appear first to Mary before anyone else who followed Him! It was Mary – not Peter, John, or His own mother! In fact, as you review the eleven post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples, it’s remarkable how each appearance validated His love for them and raised their own sense of worth and purpose in His Kingdom. When He appeared to Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, John’s gospel tells us that He comforted her sorrow. “‘Woman,’ He said, ‘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).” John 20:15-16 (NIV)
Once He called her name, Mary knew it was Jesus! Imagine how that made her feel! Then, He gave her an assignment. Go and tell the others. She must have run with excitement to share the good news! Mark tells us that the others were mourning and weeping when she arrived. Mary must have been convinced that her news would change their disposition and turn their mourning into gladness. Yet, when they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they did not believe it. It was just too unbelievable. Grief has a way of keeping you from believing the truth. If your heart has been broken, sorrow can overwhelm you. That’s why the resurrection is so important. Because He lives, we too, will live! Do you believe this? Mary did, and her sorrow turned into unspeakable joy!