The Resurrection Through the eyes of Grief- Mary Magdalene

Empty tomb
Empty tomb with three crosses on a hil lside.

Have you had one of those Murphy’s law type years?  A year where it seems that everything that could go wrong did?  You suffered loss after loss, disappointment after disappointment. It has been so filled with pain that you could not wait to turn the calendar on that year?  Now that you have weathered that storm it is time to deal with your life that was laid waste.  You have survived blow after blow, so much pain, so much suffering all at once.  You are grief-weary.  You have been beaten down by life.  There is no room for joy in your life these days.  “Don’t Worry Be Happy” is not working for you.

As you approach Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, you feel guilt.  You are supposed to come to the tomb to find comfort and peace.  The empty tomb is the place where suffering is replaced by Easter joy, but it is not so with you.  The hard seasons of suffering and pain have left you with a mournful spirit.  You want to put the pain of the last season behind you and find encouragement and happiness in the comfort of the empty tomb, however, the grief is too real.   The pain is still too close to the surface.  Good Friday mourning has replaced all that Easter joy.

We visit another face, standing at the empty tomb.  This time, we find a woman: Mary of Magdalene.  Let me tell you more about this woman: She is a woman from whom seven demons were cast out. Imagine the weight of evil that was released from this woman’s spiritual load. What was life like having that much evil and darkness taking up residency in your body? She goes from that reality to being “numbered among the disciples.” From demon holder to Jesus follower.  She was there ministering to Jesus, ministering alongside Jesus and in his name. She was there at the cross. She watched them as they took him down from the cross after the world rejected him and God forsook him. She was there to see his battered and limp body hurriedly put into the tomb.

When she came to the tomb that Sunday, she had lost a dear friend, her champion, her soul liberator. She knew which tomb he was in. She did not go there that morning expecting to witness a miracle, nor a resurrection.  She went there to mourn, to grieve her loss. She did not go to get a joyful Easter sermon. She wasn’t looking forward to shouts of alleluia. She went to perform His wake.  To take care of the necessary finishing touches, to say her final goodbye and try and figure out how life moves forward now that He is gone. Which path will I take now that my champion, teacher, the rescuer is no more?  How will I stay on the right track?  Life has been so hard, so dark, so scary.  Jesus gave her hope, a new reality, a higher sense of calling and direction. He pointed her to this new kingdom he was ushering in.  She was so looking forward to being there with him.  Now those hopes and dreams are shattered and broken by a mock trial and swift execution.  What Mary is left with is grief and a sealed tomb.  Her resurrection comes wrapped not with beautiful bows and bright spring colors. Instead, they are replaced with a dark, cold, gray stone of sorry and pain. Her grief did not allow her to get resurrection joy because she was wracked with crippling pain.

Do you relate to Mary? Whether male or female? Are you there at the tomb this season of your life? Maybe you have been at one too many tombs this year, one to many hospital beds, or received one too many rejection letters from love interests or employers. All this talk of alleluia’s, Christ is risen, and Sunday celebrations are difficult for you because you are carrying a boatload of grief. Maybe someone precious recently died, and you are still stung by the anger and severity of that pain.

It is possible your loss was job-related, you can’t find full-time employment, and you are feeling the sting of that loss. You could be dealing with a relationship that’s died and a dream of some different future that went with it. Maybe your health has gone south.  You have a routine doctor’s appointment, and she finds a spot, now you have nine months of painful cancer treatment.  In your mind, you believed if you ate enough pine bark, loaded your body with the latest vitamin supplements, swore off red meat and replaced that with bean sprouts and exercised you would just go on living forever. But then your doctor said, “This is going to kill you.” Now instead of planning for that dream vacation you are planning a funeral.

So as you grieve the loss of something very special at this moment, grief can blind your vision and coat your heart so thoroughly that you, like Mary, can’t see Jesus standing right in front of you.

If this is where you are today, Jesus has a message for you.  Know that you have a Savior who is familiar with your situation.  You have a Messiah who understands sorry and suffering.  Peter writes about those trials you are facing, “These things show that the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials…” 2 Peter 2:9.  And Moses reminds us in Deuteronomy 7 that in these moments of trails and sorry God shines the brightest, “…don’t be afraid of them! Remember, instead, what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt: the great trials that you saw with your own eyes, the signs and wonders, and the strong hand and outstretched arm the Lord your God used to rescue you.”

Though this season may be rough with grief and pain all you know right now, remember God Almighty is with you, and he will shine through your pain.  He is your rock and your fortress.  He is your strength when you have no strength.  Rest in Him, find strength in him and joy will return in the morning. We live in the power of the resurrection.

Other faces on the first Easter, Peter and John.
https://revheadpin.org/2017/04/07/the-resurrection-through-the-eyes-simeon-peter

https://revheadpin.org/2017/04/10/the-resurrection-through-John

 

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34 Comments

    1. A nice approach but there are too many unanswered questions about the unfolding picture painting first let’s say she knew where his body was placed because Simon of Cyrene was a well known rich man and possible a friend of Jesus.so he took the body and gave him a Decent burial.why did Mary want to go to the supulcer anyway it’s not a Jewish custom to balm dead body to this day after buried.how did she not recognised him after knowing him for over three years why did she taught he was a gardener and why was he Jesus in disguised.all these questions must be answered before one can claim he was truly dead whilst he was alleged hanging on the cross did he fake his death his legs were not broken as it was a custom the other had there legs broken say it was a biblical prophecy and it fulfilled it Purpose the question is still sketchy.And if according to the Bible he Jesus he would not die so let’s examine why he referred to the sign of Jonah’s did Jonah die Jesus said that would be his sign or was he lying.If all the Disciples are writing from a reliable source how is it all the Disciples have different account of the happenings up to and around the resurrection who role the stone away from the supulcer is it the earthquake or the angels who gave him clothing after he was resurrected the angels or did he snatch it from someone line.and the most unanswered question i have never received an answer for is Hebrew 5v7 was he been saved after that prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.if no what then was he been saved from.

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      1. There is a lot here Hugh. But I will address one part of it now. The reason that Mary was at the tomb in Jesus’ time, bodies were washed, wrapped, and scented for their initial entombment on the day of death.4 The formal period of mourning lasted for seven days, a practice with ancient roots (Gen 50:10; 1 Sam 31:13). Then a year later, after the decay of the body was complete, the bones of the deceased were gathered and placed in an ossuary.

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      2. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (proverbs 3:5-6)

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      3. Hugh the challenge of many of face is that what we see in Scripture has many unanswered questions. Logic and reason don’t always fit. If God treated us as we deserved, none of us could stand before him. However, God introduces a new concept of grace. Grace is God’s forgiveness at the expense and shed blood of His one and only unique Son, Jesus Christ. Logic would say God could have found a different way and easier way. Grace says that doesn’t; matter what matters is that God did provide a way. His perfect way. We believe this find comfort in this through the work of the Holy Spirit.

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      4. Good questions. Some things occurred because it fulfilled prophecy. God put it in their hearts to do things that perhaps were uncharacteristic of the time. So, it’s likely people were inspired or moved to do things unknowingly by a higher source in order for things to play out as intended. The Bible and scripture is not always literal but sometimes figurative or illustrative in order to be understood.
        As for the apostles scriptures not being the same, these are accounts by men from their perspective. If several people witness an accident, they will not always observe it exactly the same way and come away with all observations being the same. There is overlapping information in the scriptures to verify it’s voracity and that’s enough. From that we glean the whole story.

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  1. Beautifully written post for Christian people who are struggling with difficulties. And so many people are this year, it seems to have been a hard one for many of the people I have spoken to.

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  2. What a wonderful picture of God’s grace and love. We come broken and grieving. God has brought resurrection power into our grief. Jesus is alive and provides hope, giving us new strength, as we take refuge in him! Thank you!

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  3. I really liked this post. With things in the world constantly changing and bringing us down, I told my sister I had begun to question God’s concern for us, yet your post brings back the reminder and sharing with others helps as well. Thank you!

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  4. I’m not dealing with “a boatload of grief,” I’m dealing with anger. As Darrell Scott said during a recent sermon, “Nothing happens to a child of God unless God allows it or originates it.” He has allowed too much in my life. I’m sick of feeling like Job. I became a Christian because I’d already been through a million painful things, and televangelists said, “God wants to give you beauty for ashes.” Not one of them said he wants to burn everything to the ground first.

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    1. It is a test of faith when life comes with so much pain. I try to find comfort in the fact that God never leaves me even in the midst of suffering and that when that period of trial ends my faith is stronger because God is preparing me for something much bigger.

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  5. Thank you Kieth. This really hit home for me today. There has been a funeral in every month of this year so far for us. Sometimes we get so overcome by grief we do miss the fact that Jesus is right in front of us, sharing our sadness. Christian funerals do give us promise of salvation and we really are blessed through them.

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  6. Hi Keith, I appreciated the way you helped us remember all that Mary had experienced with Jesus, and how that may have affected her as she approached the empty tomb that morning. It’s so easy to just read through the story (and other biblical stories) quickly without the background in mind. Thanks, too, for the message of hope we have in Christ no matter how dark life may be. Happy (almost) Easter!

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