“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
Mary Magdalene was standing outside Jesus’ tomb in the garden, crying. We might suppose her grief had blinded her to the circumstances there. The tomb was open, the stone had been rolled away, and two angels were there. The angels asked why she was crying. She answered, “They have taken my Lord away. I don’t know where they have put Him.” You can hear the deep sorrow and complete hopelessness in her voice. She was at the place of giving up.
I think this is profound. You and I have, at times, drifted away from our Jesus, thinking He wasn’t there and we didn’t really know where He was. Of course, He was there. He is always there, but we don’t know where. Jesus was standing behind Mary. He called out to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Mary did not recognize Him. From other passages, we know that Jesus’ appearance after His resurrection was different. He had a body, but it was transcendent. And He had the ability to reveal His identity or not as He wished. It might also be that Mary couldn’t see clearly because of the tears in her eyes. Sometimes, it’s hard to see Jesus when our eyes are filled with tears. Sometimes, our sorrow keeps us from seeing clearly. When we’ve given up, we stop looking. God will never leave you or forsake you but, when you are hurting so badly, you may or may not feel His presence. Yet, even when you can’t feel His presence, He is there. In fact, when you’re brokenhearted, Scripture says, “He’s closer than ever.” (Psalm 34:18) It’s just hard to see clearly through the tears!
Mary couldn’t see who Jesus truly was. Then the moment happened. Jesus called her by her first name: “Mary”. Jesus revealed His identity. Mary turned – we can only imagine her astonishment – and called Him “Teacher!” And she ran to Him.
Maybe you’ve been a Christian for a long time, and you’ve gone through spiritual ups and downs. Maybe you need to find a miracle. That miracle is the risen Christ. Turn around. Let Him speak your name. Go running to Him. And then, as Mary did, exclaim the good news, “I have seen the Lord!”