Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” John 20:11-15a NIV
Let’s set the scene. Friday – Mary Magdalene witnessed first hand the crucifixion of her beloved teacher and Lord. She saw his broken, bloodied, definitely dead body placed in the tomb on Friday. If you have ever lost a loved one, then you know the grief that Mary was feeling. If perhaps you have not, let me give some insight. Intense grief for someone you loved affects every part of your being. Grief involves your mind, your emotions and your physical body. Many grieving people don’t remember to eat, have difficulty sleeping, or continually replay the trauma of the loved one’s death scene. Most likely, Mary has not slept much and was in an emotional state of shock. Yet she observed the Sabbath, she gathered spices and perfumes and brought them so that she could demonstrate her devotion to her Lord, by putting them on his body, as was the Jewish custom.
When grieving – tunnel vision is actually common. It is healthy to focus on just seeing and putting all of your available energy into doing the next task. For Mary, this is putting spices and perfumes on her Lord’s dead body.
But, when she gets to the tomb, the body is not there! In her grief, she cries, which is a normal, natural, even healthy response to grief. At this moment, all she can see and understand is “I have this task – I want to show my devotion to Jesus by putting spices and perfumes on his body, how can I do that if his body isn’t here?” Grief affects how your brain works; it can compromise your ability to process complicated thoughts. Mary Magdalene – in her tunnel of deep grief – can only see and understand that Jesus is not in the tomb – she is probably asking herself – how can I show my devotion to Jesus now?
How about you? Have you spent time this past week focusing on all that Jesus did for you as he died on the cross? Have you thought of how you might show your gratitude and devotion to him this week? At our Good Friday service, some beautiful pictures were displayed, some deeply moving hymns were sung, and we celebrated in many ways on Easter Sunday. Perhaps you could write a thank you letter, or a poem, sing a song or make a drawing to express your devotion and gratitude to Jesus for his sacrificial love for you.