Day 2

Encounters with Christ: Mary Magdalene & The Disciples

from the reading plan

John 20:11-23

In his sermon, The Heavenly Discourse between Christ and Mary, 17th century theologian Richard Sibbes explained that it was love that moved Jesus forward throughout the entirety of His earthly ministry:

“The same love of Christ that drew Him from heaven to the womb of the virgin, from the womb of the virgin to the cross, and from the cross to the grave […] moved Him to reveal Himself after He was risen from the grave to them that […] wonderfully loved him.”

In the post-resurrection appearances, the Scriptures highlight new revelations of Jesus’ love for His disciples. Jesus could have chosen to reveal Himself only once to the entire band of disciples prior to the ascension. That would have been sufficient to make them witnesses of His resurrection glory. However, He chose to reveal Himself to them repeatedly to teach them new depths of His love for them and to draw out of them new expressions of their love for Him. The first of these appearances is among the most significant.

On that first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene sat outside of the empty tomb, weeping. Perhaps she stayed out of a sense of abandonment and desperation; perhaps out of a sense of expectant hope. Whatever her reasons, of this much we can be sure: Mary stayed out of love for Christ. It was love for the Savior who had first loved her and had redeemed her that kept her at the tomb weeping and seeking. Mary longed to be with Jesus; and love always produces longing.

Mary’s longing to be with the Savior was so strong that she even disregarded the angels that appeared to her (John 20:12-13). The normal response of such a revelation is fear and awe. Mary was different. Her heart was consumed with love for Christ to such a degree that her longing to find Him caused everything else to fade from sight.

When Jesus finally revealed Himself to Mary, He did so by tenderly calling her by name. Here was the Good Shepherd, calling one of His own by name (John 10:3). Jesus loved Mary, whose life had been wrecked by the bondage of sin. He assured her that He would never leave her nor forsake her—that He would love her to the very end.

The longing of the hearts of those who have been redeemed by the dying love of Jesus will never be frustrated. No matter how much despair, desperation, and disappointment may, at times, seem to take ownership of our hearts, the risen Jesus reveals Himself to us in new and powerful ways. He is intent on reminding us of how greatly He loves us, and on assuring us that our longings to be with Him are never in vain.

Written By Nick Batzig 

Post Comments (44)

44 thoughts on "Encounters with Christ: Mary Magdalene & The Disciples"

  1. Jonathan says:

    It seems like the disciples must have felt as disenchanted and abandoned as you could possibly be. They certainly didn’t seem to be confident and full of faith that Christ would return. Instead the one they had invested their identity in was dead. All the promise of what looked like a bright future for a young and wise leader suddenly gone. They were hiding behind locked doors. In the midst of this fear soaked moment Christ shows up and offers peace.
    What does this teach me about God? That he doesn’t hold my doubts, fears and moments of weakness against me. He knows what I’m made of and loves me. This makes me feel a lot less guilty for the moments I struggle to live as if it really is true. It allows me to feel the peace he offered.

  2. Jonathan says:

    What happened in this passage was the first tangible evidence that Christ wouldn’t ever leave us despite feeling as though all is lost. When I consider how the disciples must have felt in that moment I am comforted. Not only were they morning their friend, but their God had died. Hopeless doesn’t seem to be a strong enough word. Yet, out of that death real hope was made available.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Fear seems to trump faith. We are so like infants that cry in agony when our mother leaves the room. Unless we can see her in the very moment we exist in she must not be real. Walking confidently in faith seems a hard task for such inconsistent creatures as we. Yet we are called over and over again to follow what we cannot see and ask for his will to be done with confidence.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I will praise God for his love and wisdom. I will ask for confidence to trust in his plan and to see from his perspective.

  5. Jonathan says:

    I will meditate on the passage and do my best to remember God’s offering of peace to us when we fear the worst. I will allow the truth and example of these events strengthen my hope.

  6. Mark Dill says:

    This teaches me that man is scared, and fearful and that in this moment of hopelessness even after Christ death and resurrection man, (Christ own disciples)still needed God to help them and comfort them in their hour of need. I need God. And I always need God.

  7. Mark Dill says:

    I will trust in my Christ Jesus, my savior to help me to be strong, to take hope in his resurrected life and not be afraid. To know that I serve a personal savior who can and is willing to comfort me when all hope seems lost. To trust him as my savior.

  8. Mark Dill says:

    That Christ is available, that he is risen and alive today, to help and intercede on my personal behalf and the rest of the human race. I’m glad I serve a kind loving God that is my rock and my fortress as its proclaimed in the psalms over and over again. A savior we see in this passage that cares, even after suffering greatly, a savior who took the hardest moment of his life and went through the hardest moment in his life for us. For me personally.

  9. Mark Dill says:

    Lord, help me to trust you. When you called to Mary at the tomb, it’s as if your very self, your comforting self shines through to her. I can be comforted today that I serve a Risen Savior, who loves and cares about me personally. Thank you. Help me with my cares today and help me to know and remember that I serve a God who defeated Death who has control even if death, how much more so can he help me, and give me hope and assurance. I love you Lord, and I thank you. Amen

  10. Mark Dill says:

    This message teaches me that I serve a God who not only has defeated Death. But overcomes fears. I like how he comforts Mary in her moment of distress, calling on her by name. He’s a personal God. Who does care for us, and he will teach us to grow in Godliness all along the roads, and highways of life.

  11. Wes says:

    God’s love for us was not in vain. It was to redeem us from our selfish sin. Just as our love for God is not in vain. We love in order to show action in service to God and to those around us. God’s redemptive power is what we yearn for. But we must come to realize that and then accept it to experience it.

  12. Wes says:

    Man is capable of love because God is capable of providing love. And this is all out of the death and resurrection of Christ. Without him we would be lost to our human sin.

  13. Wes says:

    By loving Christ, not only for what he has done, but for what he has given me. He has given me the capability of feeling passionate love and desire towards him and towards other’s lives. If I invest all of myself in my relationship with him I can experience this passionate servanthood because he has allowed me to connect with his passion for me and express that same feeling to others… So who am I to waste such a gift?

  14. Wes says:

    By loving God deeply we may see past even the most seemingly important distractions. This is the Gospel because it all roots back to Christ’s perfect sacrifice.

  15. Wes says:

    I will pray for dedication to God. That I may do what God has called me to do and let the spirit lead me in a life lived outside of my own desires.

  16. Mike Dsane says:

    I’m in awe of the Lord’s patience when we cannot perceive him. The fact that he kept speaking until Mary could hear that it was him. The text doesn’t state this but it feels as if he was physically waiting for her at the tomb, but also emotionally and spiritually waiting upon her.

  17. Mike Dsane says:

    It is his mercy that allows me to see. If the Lord does not reveal himself, I will fail to see him. If he does not speak, I will not hear His voice. But God in his rich mercy has spoken through His son that I might be adopted and capable of calling God, my Father and my Lord alongside Jesus.

  18. Mike Dsane says:

    I think there is a beauty in the rhythm of revelation leading to proclamation. Instead of Mary staying out of her desire to be near to the Saviour or out of her need to provide what seemed incredible, she left him to proclaim his resurrection to others.

    I think this is the faithful response of the believer. If the Lord is gracious enough to allow me to perceive him, I must respond with proclamation.

  19. Mike Dsane says:

    Our lack of knowledge and perception does not disqualify our pursuit. Mary was not at the tomb to witness the resurrection, but rather to prepare the body. So much so, that she was overcome with grief when the body was missing. But in spite of her lack of understanding, she had the courage to show up and desire to be near to the Lord. As a fallible and fragile man, there is something about my courageous stumbling towards the Lord that honors him.

  20. Mike Dsane says:

    That the Lord would open my eyes and ears to see and hear him, especially in places where He is near, but I am missing him.

    For courage to pursue, even when I don’t understand.

    For the full hearted gladness that Mary felt when she recognized him and the immediacy to respond to his commands.

  21. Mark says:

    God’s gifts are even more generous than we imagine.

  22. Mark says:

    We need repeated visits from God to truly learn his messages for us. And, He loves us enough to do it!

  23. Mark says:

    Give thanks to the Lord Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit for their loving kindness and presence in me!

  24. Mark says:

    His love for us is real, faithful and caring. He is mired by love and compassion for his people.

  25. Mark says:

    Give thanks to the Lord Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit for their loving kindness and presence in me! Lord help me to continue in the proper attitude.

  26. Matthew Reeves says:

    Now through the resurrection we are always welcome into relationship with Him!

  27. Matt Rouse says:

    God is a God is a is who speaks to his children gently. He doesn’t say things like, “You idiot! Why don’t you just understand!!” He simply gently calls my name. He isn’t waiting for me to find him, but is actively pursuing me and trying to connect with me. He is a God who breaks down barriers. He wasn’t stopped by the disciples locked room. He stepped in anyway! He’s not intimidated by my stubborn heart. He steps in and shows me that he is alive and he is good!

  28. Matt Rouse says:

    We are desperate for love even when we don’t know it. Whenever we despair or fall into depression over a loss it is because we desperately need secure love and when we lose something that we loved it rocks our identity. The good thing about Jesus is that his is a live that we will never lose! We can be confident and rest in Him knowing that he will never leave or fail us!

  29. Matt Rouse says:

    Jesus rose again for me and you to prove the externality of His love. Everything else is subject to death and decay except for the love of Jesus! He is the only thing that can save us from death an destruction!

  30. Matt Mitchell says:

    Continue to seek after God even when everything is crumbling down around you. G.K. Chesterton said that whenever faith in God becomes difficult the tendency is to turn away but in heavens name to what!?! I don’t want to turn away because things are hard and I don’t want to only seek God during these times. God asks us to pursue him in all moments and to see he is our God and Captain.

  31. Matt Mitchell says:

    This is the embodiment of the Gospel. What good news do we have of not for the Grace, the resurrection, and the immanence of Jesus in our lives? The passage embodies that but by no means teaches us more about it.

  32. Matt Mitchell says:

    Will I still cry out to God in my lows as much as I am willing to thank him for my highs? Will I sit in my troubles and try to do it on my own like the disciples who were hiding in a house trying to protect themselves? Or will I rather be like Mary who went to the tomb regardless of the risk? It was as if Mary had far more to lose. She lost everything so who cares if her life would be taken. The disciples thought they would be next. The disciples did not feel the same loss as Mary. None of them had been saved from what Mary had been save from. I need to live my life as though losing My connection to Christ is the equivalence to losing everything. Sadly, that is not how I live. That will be my response.

  33. Matt Mitchell says:

    I don’t think this passage can show us as much about love as it does about how he reveals himself in the midst of our disappointment and loss. I think it is remarkable that during this time, the Jews did not believe in a dying Messiah let alone a resurrecting one. None the less, Mary still refers to this lost hope as the Lord! And in that moment, Jesus showed up and restored her hope! He allowed the social vestige of what they thought to be the Messiah to come crumbling down. She maintained her love for Christ even when all seemed lost. I think all of this speaks of the immense love of Christ but I can not begin to think that any passage beyond the crucifixion to increase my awareness or understanding of Gods love for us. This passage shows me far more of how he meets us in our times of need and that we still need to look to him when all seems lost!

  34. Payton Sanislow says:

    Responding to this is by showing our love of Christ towards others and letting them know the Word and our strength through difficult times.

  35. Payton Sanislow says:

    This passage teaches me that God will never leave us or forsake when we are going through any hard times. His love for us is undying just like our love should be towards Him.

  36. Payton Sanislow says:

    God describes man by saying that we will feel desperation, despair and/or disappointment because of our thoughts and assumptions that we have been abandoned. We have been redeemed and we will not be frustrated because we have an everlasting love for God.

  37. Payton Sanislow says:

    Praying will prepare us for our response to others. It will also be a personal thing that keeps us strong when we feel that we aren’t being answered or protected by God when we are.

  38. Payton Sanislow says:

    The Gospel provides great examples that will help us have a better understanding and familiarity of the things that go on in our lives. It prepares us and let’s us know that God understands what we are going through.

  39. Landen Howell says:

    I will pray for a clear line of sight.

  40. Landen Howell says:

    This teaches me that Jesus makes his love new for me everyday. Even when I am an idiot and mess up, he is there ready to pick up the pieces.

  41. Landen Howell says:

    I must focus on Jesus

  42. Landen Howell says:

    The power of the Gospel can touch and change anyone. Mary lived a life in bondage before she met Jesus. The gospel changed that bondage into living my in reckless abandon for Christ

  43. Landen Howell says:

    This teaches me that when Jesus is the sole focus of my life, even seemingly big things will not phase me because my focus is on Christ .

  44. Landon Gross says:

    Dear Heavenly Father, I bow my heart before you in thanks for your love and mercy shown through Christ, and your graceful acceptance of myself as a sinful human being. I pray that you open my ears to your teachings as they appear in my everyday life and for you to remind me that no matter how lost I am in this world, I am found in you. I ask these things in your son’s holy name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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