‘Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” ‘ John 20:1-2

It seems both the most natural and the most unnatural truth that Mary was the first person to see Jesus after he rose. It was strange because her testimony would have been weak as a woman. It also seems so fitting for this woman, whose life had been changed by Jesus, to be the first.

Even in her sorrow and hopelessness, Mary still loved her savior, and she couldn’t help but tend to his body. That love brings her to the right place at the right time to encounter the most world-changing news in history. Jesus had risen from the dead.

Have you ever wanted to hear from God? Have you ever longed to feel his presence? Could it be that deep love and reverence for Jesus help put us in the right place to encounter him? See, it’s not her status, reputation, wisdom, or good works that pave the way to being the first to See the risen lord. Instead, it’s her love that draws her like gravity to be near him even in her grief. Perhaps cultivating a deep love for Jesus is a recipe for encountering him.

How does one do that? I suggest you get to know him through the gospel accounts. Spend extra time in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Find a way to read from these accounts often, all while asking God to teach you Jesus’ personality. How did he think? What Was he like? Why did he do things the way he did? This exploration is one of the ways that God has caused me to grow in my love for Jesus. It is then Love that puts us in our Gardens of encounter.