Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb… John 20:11

I imagine she hadn’t slept. Her pain too intense, her loss too deep. Did she toss on her mat, did she sit outside of her home curled up and crying, did she wander aimlessly in the dark? For aimless, she must have felt. Jesus, the one who had rescued her from evil spirits, who had restored her and who she had found purpose in serving, Jesus was dead.

He was crucified on a cross, placed in a tomb. He was gone. She had been there. She was present at the trial; she stood with his mother at the cross; she saw where he was laid. He was gone; she was lost.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  John 20:1

Perhaps this is why she went early. Feeling lost, she went to where he would be, where his body would be. Maybe she could find comfort in that. However, it was not comfort she found but an empty tomb. It was not elation; she felt but distraught.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”  “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”   John 20:11-13

My Lord. The one she loves and who loves her has been taken from her, first on the cross and now from the tomb. So desperate is she for her Savior that to be in the presence of his corpse is better than being alone with her grief. She is unaware that she is speaking to angels, but then Glory appears…here in a tomb!

HE asked her, “Woman, 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”).  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.  John 20:15-16,18

The Amazing Grace of the Resurrection. “Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” The risen Lord speaks to her. She can see his face; she watches the wind blow his hair; she can see the scars on his hands.

She is surprised; this is unexpected. She had come here to mourn, to remember, to be angry. Yet here she was, at a tomb, reunited with Jesus. God appeared in the strangest of places. Changing fear to faith, tears to joy, and despair to hope. It’s just so like Him. Her response was to cry out, to worship, and to tell others.

As we reflect on the resurrection of Jesus, I hope that we, too, will be surprised by Jesus. I pray that we would find Jesus in unexpected places and at unexpected times. Keep your eyes and ears open; you may hear him call your name when you least expect it.

Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, I ask that you would help me hear your voice and see you in unexpected moments of life. May I seek you and find you. And when you surprise me, may I find myself responding in worship and sharing the good news of you to those around me. Amen.

~Jilane Hawkins