Prepare to listen (about 5 minutes). Be aware of your thoughts and feelings and distractions. Offer them to Jesus and pray for insight.
Read John 20:1-18, slowly and prayerfully, attending to what the different characters do and say.
20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Twice Mary Magdalene was asked, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ It’s a question that suggests compassion for Mary in her obvious deep sorrow. Mary didn’t wait for a response from the ‘two angels.’ I wonder why. Turning from them, she saw Jesus, but thought he was just a gardener. Jesus not only asks about her tears but adds: ‘For whom are you looking?’ The question is one we all must answer. Mary was looking for the body, a dead body (as she supposed) of her Lord. Jesus simply called her by name, ‘Mary!’ I wonder about Jesus’ tone of voice as he called her by name.
For whom are you looking?
Respond to Jesus in prayer. Write your prayer response or pray the following prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know, deep down, that you are the one I’m looking for. I want to experience you as Mary did, hear you call my name. But, I also know that sometimes I’m hesitant of what that will mean for my life, what changes I’ll need to make. Help look beyond this to the joy of the resurrection—yours and also the hope of my own. Thank you.
Be silent and still (for as long as you want). Simply be in the presence of Jesus, who loves you, regardless. Then go forth in the dance of the merrymakers (Jeremiah 31) and celebrate Christ’s resurrection.