Mary Magdalene stood weeping by the entrance to the tomb (John 20:11). She had been with Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the cross. And now the Son of God, who had transformed their lives and raised so many hopes for the world, was dead.
After the Sabbath following the crucifixion she had gone to the tomb with Mary the mother of James to anoint His body (Mark 16:1), but had found the tomb empty (John 20:1). ‘They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him’ (John 20:13). Her grief was compounded by shock and bewilderment. Then Jesus spoke her name: “Mary” (John 20:16). She turned and immediately recognised the truth. He was alive! Her emotions jumped from despair to joy, and she excitedly ran off to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:8).
One of the disciples, John, spent three years in the company of Jesus, and had been His constant companion. He was one of the ‘inner circle’ and is referred to in Scripture as ‘the one Jesus loved.’ John was probably closer to Jesus than anyone else who has ever lived, and here he gives a first-hand account of his experience:
‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard … seen … and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and… proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us… so that you also may have fellowship with us and his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete’ (1 John 1:1-4).
John wants us to share with him the overwhelming joy he knew during the time he spent with Jesus. He realised that in Him was eternal life; and that this life is available to all who would receive Him. Mary Magdalene ran to share with the disciples her excitement in the news that Jesus was alive, and the joy that filled her heart when Jesus spoke her name brought a new hope into her life. Do we know this eternal life in Jesus? Has He called us by name (John 10:3-4)?
As we accept the Word of truth and receive Him to ourselves, He comes to live within us by the Holy Spirit: ‘Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.’ (Ephesians 1:13-14). And then our joy is complete: ‘Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1 Peter 1:8).
Prayer: Jesus, as I begin to realise the depth of relationship You long to share with me, and the promise of my spending eternity with You, I just want to rest in the security of Your love and enjoy Your continuing presence in my life. Let it be Lord, and thank You. Amen.
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