Lesson 113

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

20:11 But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb, 20:12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 20:13 They told her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"

She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they have laid him." 20:14 When she had said this, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and didn't know that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?"

She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."

20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary."

She turned herself, and said to him, "Rhabbouni!" which is to say, "Teacher!"

20:17 Jesus said to her, "Don't touch me, for I haven't yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.'"

20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her.

 Today's Lesson 

Mary Magdalene follows Peter and the other disciple back to the tomb. After they leave and go back to their homes, Mary stays on, weeping by the tomb. As she weeps, she looks into the tomb and sees two angels sitting. They ask her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"


Now this alone was probably enough to unnerve the woman. Or perhaps she thought that these men had been in the tomb when Peter and the other disciple entered. The scriptures are filled with occasions where people did not recognize angels as spiritual beings and mistake them for men. So, perhaps in her grief she simply took these two beings to be men who were sitting in the tomb.


In any case, after telling them why she was weeping she turns outside and is confronted by another man standing just outside the entrance. The man asks her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?" In other words, this man asks the same question that the two men in the tomb have asked her. She mistakes this man thinking that he was the gardener and says to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."


At this point the man calls her by name and she finally looks up at him and recognition dawns on her who is standing before her. "Rhabbouni!" Suddenly her eyes are opened that Jesus of Nazareth is standing in front of her very eyes, speaking with her. Jesus had told the disciples in the upper room that soon their sorrow would turn to joy. Here was the immediate fulfillment of these words. Though she was deep in grief, suddenly her sorrow was turned to joy. The one for whom she grieved was dead no more.


The words of Jesus that are recorded here have intrigued men for a long time. No one knows for sure what He meant when He said, "Don't touch me, for I haven't ascended to my Father." Any meaning past their obvious one is speculation. What is important is that He gives her a message for the other disciples and she is to go and tell them what she has seen and heard.


The Risen Christ confronted Mary. At first she did not understand. The reality before her was greater than anything that she could have expected. Her prior life had left her unprepared to deal with this new situation. Mary's experience is our own. When Christ confronts us, we are unprepared. The reality of His presence is beyond our conception. We pass it off as an everyday experience until our eyes are open and suddenly we can see that God is speaking to us. Then suddenly our perspective shifts and we experience God.


Are you prepared to see God? Do you know that He is with you, even now seeking your attention? Don't you hear Him calling you by name?


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