Mary Magdalene had been saved by Jesus. She had been delivered by Jesus. She, in response, committed her life to follow Jesus. She was not one of his disciples, but she was a devoted servant of her Lord.
One day she sees Him beaten to an unrecognizable state. She sees him crucified on a cross. She sees this man who saved, delivered, and directed her die on a cross and placed in a tomb.
She reasons in her mind that the least she can do is properly prepare his body. She goes to the place when he was laid, and, as if she had not experienced enough disappointment, she finds that his body is missing!
Mary weeps! And who blames her! Let down after let down. One blow after another. Of course, she weeps.
Jesus appears before Mary and says to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Eventually, Mary recognizes who he is.
Imagine the love that flooded her heart when she heard her Savior saying her name!!
She then clung to Him.
And again who blames her, right!!
Then this happens: Jesus responded with these words, “Stop clinging to Me . . .” (John 20:17)
Poor Mary! Here again seems to be another blow. Another let down. Another decline from such a joyful peak.
Why is this happening to Mary?
Better yet, why do such let downs happen to you and me?
Jesus was not trying to offend or hurt Mary. He was trying to raise her to another level. Mary did not want to lose Jesus again and was, therefore clinging to the old Jesus, her old experiences, her old expectations. Jesus knew that after His crucifixion, death, and burial would come His resurrection! He needed to now ascend to heaven. He could not stay there with Mary. If he did the Holy Spirit could not come.
Both he and Mary had important work to do. He needed to get to Heaven with his Father and Mary needed to go and tell the disciples about it. He wanted her to cling, not to his body, but instead cling to His call for her to “go . . .”
Are you trying to cling to the past? Are you trying to maintain a tight grip on something that is no more? To what unmet expectation are you hanging on to? What dead thing are you nursing? What in your life has changed yet you refuse to recognize the change?
This can happen in our marriages, with our children, career goals, and well as our personal development. We expected one thing and are now faced with something completely different. And oh, how we long for what was or what should have been!!
Jesus is saying to us, “Stop clinging . . .” and “go . . .”
He is not trying to offend us, he is trying to grow us! He knows that clinging to the past halts our progress. He desires that we trust in His ability to take the broken pieces of our shattered hopes and create something beautiful.
For Mary, he fashioned the pieces of her broken and weeping heart with the Good News and called her to go and tell others about it. How did she respond?
Well, in verse 11, Mary was weeping. By the time we get to verse 18, she is announcing. “Mary Magdalene came announcing to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord . . .’”
Keep in mind, her original expectation to cling to him and not lose him again was not met. Yet, she responded with obedience and joy!
Hearing Him call her name created something beautiful in Mary. The good news is he is calling your name as well. He is encouraging you to cling to his promises instead of your expectations.
How will you respond?