He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. 

Why Mary Magdalene?   Why not his mother?   Why not choose Peter or John or any of the apostles to be the first to see him after his resurrection?   Mary was a surprising, even illogical choice to be his first witness.   In Jesus’ time, a woman could not legally serve as a witness, so Mary’s testimony probably would not be taken seriously.

Yet Jesus chose Mary, one of the least.   But why?   Maybe simply because she was there.   And she was always there.   She was there throughout his ministry.   She was there at his arrest.   She was even there when the apostles scattered in fear.   She was there in the praetorium when the soldiers mocked and scourged him.   She was there at the cross with his mother when they crucified him.   She was there on Calvary when they took him down and laid his body in the tomb.   Mary made it a point to stay close to Jesus because she loved him to the end.   So of course she would be the first one to go to the tomb early Sunday morning.   And of course, Jesus appeared to her!

Because she loved Jesus so much, Mary Magdalene took the risk that the apostles were unable to take.   Perhaps she stood up to the guards and put her life in danger just to see Jesus’ body.   She fought through her fear and sadness, just as we do sometimes.   She put aside any sense of unworthiness she might have felt because she wasn’t his “real family.”   She persisted until she found Jesus.

So what can we learn from Mary Magdalene?   That it’s always worth it to try to stay close to the Lord.   God rewards everyone who seeks him.   He especially delights to reveal himself to the humble and lowly.   So when you push through fear or grief or doubt in order to be near Jesus, you can be confident that he will bless you.   In fact, he is already there; he is waiting to reveal himself to us.

Today and every day, fight to stay close to the Lord.   Be there with him and persist in prayer, even when you don’t feel his presence.   Talk to him during the day; ask him to help you sense that he is near.   He is closer than you think.

word among us