John 20:14 -15
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Mary broken and afraid, had gone to the grave to tend to the body of her Lord. He was DEAD! She saw him die. She watched his lifeless body lowered from a bloody cross and laid in a tomb. I imagine on this morning as she walked slowly, head dropped down, shoulders slumped, tears streaming down her face that she was steeling herself for the task ahead.
She would anoint his body with oils. She would do this one last thing for the man who had changed her life so drastically. It had been three days, three horribly long days of doubt, grief, and fear. What would happen now? What were they supposed to do? How would they carry on without him? She might have stumbled under the weight that she carried in her heart and in her spirit. Loaded down with herbs and oils, headed into the graveyard, certain that life would never again be the same.
And then she came upon his EMPTY grave. But instead of seeing promise, instead of seeing scripture fulfilled she saw emptiness. She was expecting to see the dead body of her promise and didn’t realize that what she saw was HER PROMISE! He had promised to rise again, he had promised to return to them, he had promised that not even death would keep him from them. And yet she could not see it. She was so focused on the pain and the fear that she missed the MIRACLE!
Her explanation was that someone had somehow taken him in the night. And hid him. She could not fathom that an empty grave meant a RISEN GOD! She only saw the trial and could not even begin to comprehend the testimony.
And when Jesus, himself, stood before her she could not allow her mind nor her heart to dare believe that it was him. It was not until he spoke her name that she KNEW that the one she loved with all her soul, had conquered death, hell and the grave for HER!
I have many times in my life wished that I could have been there that morning. I pride myself in thinking that I would have understood, that I would have realized what was happening. That I would have shouted and praised God standing outside that empty tomb. And yet, I know that I am only fooling myself. I would have been just like Mary! I would have doubted him. I would have missed the miracle too.
And I know this because I do it EVERY! SINGLE! DAY! Every time I face a trial, an empty grave, in my life. I doubt that God can save me from it. I doubt that God will deliver me from pain, and fear, and death. I do not see the miracle, I miss the fact that the battle is over, the victory won. How many times in my life have a stood in utter despair, tears streaming down my face, heart ripped open and asked “WHERE? IS? GOD?”
Only to find out, when he whispers my name, that he was there all along. Birthing my promise, performing miracles, resurrecting my life out of the ashes of sin and despair. And I had failed to see him, failed to recognize his nail scared hands in my life doing what only he can do.
Just like that day some two thousand years ago, just like Mary, I stand before empty graves and fail to see PROMISE until he whispers my name and then I know that NOTHING will keep me from HIM!