9 Early on the first day of the week, after He had risen, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, as they were mourning and weeping. 11 Yet, when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it.
11 But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus’ body had been lying. 13 They said to her, “Woman , why are you crying?”
“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”—which means “Teacher.” 17 “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.”
I can still remember the day my 3-year-old son came into my bedroom weeping because (according to him) his mother had disappeared. He desperately needed her company, but she was nowhere to be found.
His tears flowed hard, his sorrow ran deep, and he collapsed on the floor in a heap of despair. Of course, his tears were sincere but also ill founded because his mother was actually in the laundry room emptying the dryer.
After realizing she hadn’t disappeared, his tears dried up quickly and he carried on, business as usual.
It might be common for children to act this way, but it’s also common in followers of Jesus. A trial, struggle, or test occurs, and we’re paralyzed with doubt, fear, and uncertainty. Captured by emotions of the moment, we fail to see the bigger picture. Our limited perspectives cause ill-founded tears.
In today’s reading, Mary Magdalene is seemingly in the darkest day of her life. Jesus’ tomb was empty and she was confused and upset. She was crying—tears of love but also of sorrow.
In her mind, Jesus was dead, His body stolen, and she’d not be able to find it. But her tears were ill founded because if she knew the real reason His body was missing, she wouldn’t have been crying at all, but instead celebrating. Mary’s grief blinded her to the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.
A central truth we can take from today’s passage is this: when we come to see things for what they really are, we discover that sometimes our tears are unnecessary.
I can recall countless moments in my life where worry, anxiety, and fear consumed me. My flawed perspective of the situation kept me from seeing the whole truth. And down the road, I realized my tears were ill founded.
I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t cry. But I am saying a good portion of our sorrow results from an inadequate understanding of what God’s doing in and through our hardships.
When we get to heaven, we’ll see the entire picture and understand that many of our adversities were truly for our good and God’s glory. We’ll look back over our lives and realize our shouts of “Why, God?” should’ve been replaced with “Thank you, God.”
- Think back over your life. Can you recall moments where your tears prevented you from seeing the bigger picture? Have you ever found that your tears were unnecessary after you realized what God was up to?
- How can you encourage someone today that might be blinded by sorrow?
- Knowing that God has a purpose for everything that happens to you, how will you respond differently the next time you face adversity?