John 20:14-16 (CEB)
14As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.
15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”
16Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher).
Mary Magdalene was a close friend of Jesus. After he healed her of a severe illness, she became one of his loyal followers. She traveled with Jesus and the disciples. She witnessed firsthand the miracles Jesus performed and his unconditional love for others. She also witnessed his torture and death, and was there when his body was laid in the tomb, just before sunset at the start of the Sabbath. Because the Sabbath was starting, it would have been unlawful for anybody to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial with the traditional spices and oil. The Sabbath was over at sunrise on Sunday morning, and Mary was right there at the tomb, ready to treat the body.
It’s hard to imagine her mental anguish from witnessing the recent events, but consider the additional stress of discovering that somebody had stolen Jesus’ body! As if killing him wasn’t enough, now somebody had desecrated his burial site. She was so distraught that when she turned and spoke to Jesus, she didn’t recognize him.
But then, Jesus called her by name. And her sheer dread turned to pure joy.
Sometimes, we get worked up, stressed out, and overwhelmed. In those times, it’s hard to recognize Jesus, but he’s calling our name. When things go bad, the best thing to do is stop everything, quiet down, and listen for Jesus. He wants to turn our dread into joy.
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.