Aren’t We All a Little Mary Magdalene?

I was leaving Easter Sunrise Service this morning. The reading from John 20 got me thinking.

Aren't We All a Little Mary Magdalene?

Mary had been profoundly touched by Jesus so she followed after Him, got to know and love Him, and was there at the foot of the cross (19:25). Seeing Him die on that cross must have begun a mind-blowing crisis of faith. This is not what she thought was coming.

Bereft, confused, she continued to seek answers in the fellowship of other disciples and in her religious traditions (20:1, 10).

In the midst of trying (unsuccessfully) to go through the motions of a ritual (anointing the body), she encountered something fully, terrifyingly, utterly supernatural…and she totally didn’t get what was going on. (20:13)

In that place of, “What? Look, can somebody please just help me here?” she came face to face with VASTLY MORE of Jesus than she had ever encountered before. It was so beyond her experience that she didn’t even realize it was His presence in front of her. (20:14)

She responded with an effort to make sense of it all and DO something…anything…to get her footing back. (20:15)

Jesus reminded her of their intimate relationship. He called her by name. In revealing that He knew who she was, she suddenly was able to see who He was.


He reaches into our lives and touches us, blesses us, provides for us, and if we aren’t foolish we respond by lovingly following after Him for more. Then life happens; we are blind-sided by things we cannot foresee or control, and we are left shaking.

Bereft, confused, if we are wise we continue to seek answers. Maybe the fellowship of other believers helps; maybe study and solitude; maybe religious traditions.

But somewhere in the midst of trying (with always less than total success) in our own strength to sort it all out, we encounter a whole big piece of GOD that we have not encountered before. We may not even realize that this is His presence in front of us at first.

We usually respond with an effort to do SOMEthing to put this very overwhelming GOD into a framework we can understand and manage, but He is not interested in fitting into our boxes. So He makes clear to us who He is by revealing to us again (and again, and again) who we are…because only He knows us so intimately.

And we are left with our mouths hanging open in astonishment, our hearts overflowing with awe and gratitude and wonder, and our minds still mighty confused for the most part. We then choose how we will respond.

Mary did it this way:

She responded by calling Him “Teacher” – the name she had used for three years as she depended on Him for instruction in truth. She still didn’t understand, and in calling on her Teacher, she once more humbled herself to the authority of wisdom from heaven.

(I want to respond like Mary.)

Then Jesus told her yet another thing that was beyond her understanding (20:17). And when He left her – still mind-blown and clueless for the most part – she chose to go to her brothers and sisters and testify to what she had seen and heard, even though she couldn’t possibly have explained it to the others.

I am often afraid to respond like Mary.

I would rather have my mind wrapped around a thing before I try to share it with others. But if I trust Him to be Teacher, can’t I trust Him to reveal wisdom from heaven to all of us in His time, in His way, to His glory and for our good?

What if my testimony about what I’ve seen and heard in all of its incomplete, clueless, “no-I-can’t-exactly-explain-what-it-all-means-but…” humanness is just what might help someone else keep seeking?

I want to respond like Mary.



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