Neither Mary Magdalene, nor Peter, nor John understood that Jesus had risen from the dead. All they could think about was, "Who stole the body of Jesus?"
As John entered the tomb he looked closely and saw the linen cloth in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped and the face cloth that had covered Jesus' head neatly folded. The passage tells us that John believed: "He believed". (John 20:8)
But what did he believe? Did he believe that the body of Jesus was really gone . . . did he believe that someone had rolled the stone away and stolen the body . . . or did he believe the impossible that Jesus had truly risen from the grave?
John realized that Jesus had risen. The grave cloths were still exactly in the same place as he remembered when the body of Jesus was placed in the tomb. Nothing had been moved.
When Peter and John left the tomb, Mary remained behind weeping and when she looked inside the tomb, she saw two angels dressed in white sitting at each end of the cloths where the body of Jesus had been laid.
The angels asked Mary, "Woman, why are you crying?" She replied: "They have taken my Lord away, and I don't know where they have put Him."
This was the darkest moment of her life, Jesus' body was gone. Then Mary turned around and saw someone she thought was the gardener. Jesus asks Mary the same question the angels asked: "Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?"
Hoping this 'gardener' can help her. She pleads with Him: "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." (Verse 15) Jesus answered with one word - "Mary." It was the voice she knew so well. Recognizing that it was Jesus, she called, "Rabboni" (or teacher). In Aramaic 'Rabboni' means 'Master'.
Mary had found Him and wanted to hold Him but Jesus tells her not to cling to Him because "He must first return to the Father, to my God and your God," and He tells her, "Go and tell the others."
The significant point in this passage is that Jesus had not yet ascended to His Father, and His God. The question we must ask is in what way could His ascension change the situation allowing those He loved to touch Him afterwards?
There are several remarkable things about this passage.
Jesus' first appearance is not to one of the eleven disciples, but to Mary Magdalene. She was never one of the apostles. She would never write a Gospel. She would never become a great preacher. Secondly, Mary was the only person who saw the resurrected Jesus prior to presenting His blood in the Throne Room of God. Afterwards, He presented Himself to the other disciples.
There are only 2 other times in the entire bible where Jesus refers to His Father as 'God'. The first is found in Hebrews 10:7 when Jesus entered into the little baby that Mary was about to give birth to . . . declaring, "Then said I, Lo I have come to do thy will, O God." The 2nd occasion was at the cross when Jesus cried out . . . "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).
What is clear is that Jesus, the Son of God, in all 3 occasions had come to do the will of God.....His God and our God. Jesus submitted His will to God in the incarnation. And He submitted His will by becoming the sacrificial lamb to shed his blood on the cross. And now, in His final act, Jesus still had to enter into the very throne room of God in heaven to present His undefiled blood . . . before His God and our God.
Later that day Jesus appeared to His disciples who were assembled behind closed doors, and willingly let them touch Him. They thought that He was a ghost or an apparition . . . to which Jesus challenged them to touch Him. (Luke 24:38-39) "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit doesn't have flesh and bones as you see me have."
From that day, Jesus' Church would be referred to as His Body. Ephesians 5:30 puts it this way: "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
It is the resurrection which separates all other belief systems from Christianity. Without the resurrection Christianity is meaningless. As Paul puts it: "If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is also in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:14)
What does the resurrection prove? It proves 3 things:
First, it proves that God was satisfied with Jesus' sacrifice. Secondly, it proves that Jesus destroyed Satan's power over death. Thirdly, a new order of life has been established. Jesus became the first born from the dead, so that many could become the sons of God.
It is Christ's resurrection which gives us the assurance that the sting of death has been destroyed. What a glorious Saviour we serve!!!
Blessings in Christ....Pastor Roman & Pat Kozak