Jn.16:17 – Jesus cautioned her, “Mary, don’t hold on to me now, for I haven’t yet ascended to God, my Father. And he’s not only my Father and God, but now he’s your Father and your God! Now go to my brothers and tell them what I’ve told you, that I am ascending to my Father—and your Father, to my God—and your God!
That first resurrection morning was literally the dawning of God’s new day for all of us. The darkness of sickness, death, and all misery was being swallowed up by God’s glorious new day. The first witness of the resurrection of Jesus was the least likely from a natural man’s perspective, but perfect in God’s revelation of His grace. The first witness was in the garden near the tomb. It was Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus had driven out seven demons. Her story is the great story of redemption. She had tasted grace and probably was one of the women who washed His feet with her ointment and her tears. Why was she the first to see Christ, maybe it was because of her great love for Him. Remember what Jesus had said about her? The one who is forgiven much loves much. This is how the reformer Farrar describes this scene.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ That one word, in these awful yet tender tones of voice, at once penetrated to her heart. Turning towards Him, trying apparently to clasp His feet or the hem of His garment, she cried to Him in her native Aramaic, ‘RABBONI!’ – ‘Oh my Master!’ And she remained speechless with her transport. Jesus Himself checked the passion of her enthusiasm. ‘Cling not to Me,’ He exclaimed, ‘for not yet have I ascended to the Father; to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”
This passage smacks of intimacy; intimacy with God. Mary cried out to the Lord in her mother tongue, “Rabonni”. Her worst fears were washed away by a reality better than anything she could have hoped for: Jesus was actually alive. Mary was not yet aware of the ramifications of the resurrection – that didn’t matter to her. This was personal and her Lord was alive and she could live again. What was her response? Of course she would run to her friends, Peter and John. They needed to hear this good news too. Easter is here again this week. This isn’t so much about the theological ramifications – even though there are many – this is personal. Because He lives, I can live too.