& “Go Tell”During this Easter season think of how the Risen Lord has blessed you, saved you, healed you, brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
“Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” This is the second time in just a few minutes she, Mary Magdalene, was asked these questions. First by the two angels sitting in Jesus’ empty tomb and now, as she turned around, by the Gardener!
When hasn’t she been crying over these past few days? The authorities took her Beloved Friend, Savior, Teacher and Lord. They imprisoned, mocked, beat and humiliated Him. Then she watched as they nailed Him to a cross alongside two thieves. She heard His voice cry out in agony. He even questioned His Heavenly Father for abandoning Him. As she stood at the cross with Mary, Jesus’ mother, and John, the beloved disciple, she heard words of love and compassion. A beloved Son making sure His widowed mother would be taken care of.
How could they do such horrid things to the One she and many other followers believed to be the Messiah? When He died, a strange thing happened. The ground shook and later she heard that people who were dead came up out of their graves and the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom. The Roman centurion and those with him became afraid and said, “Surely, He was the Son of God.” Even he gave testimony that God’s one and only Son gave Himself up to die to save the sins of the whole world…Jew, Gentile, men, women, children.
The day after Jesus was crucified, His friends and family gathered together to pray. It was Passover like no other. They remembered what He said to them on several occasions: “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19). These were difficult words to hear. They didn’t understand. One time when He said this, Peter rebuked Him and said, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:22-23).
This was an uncertain day also. “Will the authorities come and arrest us too? What will happen to us now? What will we do? Where will we go?” Mary Magdalene began to reminisce of the changes in her own life because of her beloved Rabboni, her Teacher.
Then the “remember when” stories began to flow one after the other. So many wonderful memories with their Beloved. “Peter, remember when we first met Jesus? We had been fishing all day and caught nothing then He arrives and tells us to go out again. You didn’t want to go out, right? You were thinking, ‘Who is this man? He doesn’t even look like a fisherman.’ But we went out anyway…remember all the fish we caught? Then He said, ‘I will make you fishers of men.’ We really didn’t know what He meant, we just knew we had to follow Him.”
Tears and laughter flowed as more “remember when” stories were told about miracles, healings, teachings, wonder, mistakes and failures–He loved them and desired for them to enter into His Kingdom and to go and tell others.
Mary, Jesus’ Mother, enjoyed the stories, but she remembered her beautiful Son the way no other could, the angel appearing before her, when she was so young, to tell her she was to become pregnant, her fear of having to reveal this news to Joseph and her family, the difficult travel on a donkey to Bethlehem from Nazareth, no room there except a stable, the pain of birth, the joy of seeing His face, then there were the visitors who joyfully worshiped Him as King!
And now, sitting with these loved ones, grieving with such pain in her heart, yet He said more than once that on the third day He would rise, it seems too difficult to understand.
Mary Madeline told her own story of how Jesus freed her of seven demons that had tortured her for years! She was a new person and from that day followed Jesus and contributed funds for the ministry.
“Mary,” He said her name, she stood at the tomb in front of a person she thought was the gardener and He said her name! “Rabboni!” She knew it was Jesus and what He told them was true! She wanted to hug Him, but Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17). She ran back to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” Soon the others would see Him too.
During this Easter season think of how the Risen Lord has blessed you, saved you, healed you, brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light. “Remember when,” then go and tell others so that they may be brought into the Kingdom of God.
Commissioner Sharron Hudson is National President of Women’s Ministries at Salvation Army National Headquarters in Alexandria, VA.