Scripture encouragement: John 20:16-18
“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for 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.’”
Scripture Encouragement Perfected
In John 20:1 we learn that Mary Magdalene was the first person to arrive at the tomb of Jesus and find the stone rolled away. In John 20:16 we learn that she is also the first person to be with the risen Jesus. She is in His presence! She heard His voice when He spoke her name. Mary is then the first person to be sent by Jesus to share the good news—He is risen, just as He had told them!
To understand the eternal importance of this message, we go back in time to Genesis 3. In this chapter we learn how the gift of free will—given by God to Adam and Eve—leads to sin and separation from Him. They used the gift He gave them to trust the serpent’s lies instead of believe His truth. Paradise was lost that day. Since we are descendants of Adam and Eve, we lost it, too. This is not the end of the story, however. God set in motion His plan of redemption that same day. It was realized on the first Easter morning with Mary as the first witness.
For more than 2000 years, the message that Jesus Christ is risen has transformed the world, by transforming the lives of those who hear it and believe. Jesus is both our Savior/Redeemer and our Teacher. He sends God’s Holy Spirit to help us know Him and surrender to Him, to trust Him and obey Him. He will continue to teach us and transform us until we, too, ascend to “our Father, our God.”
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Image: taken from an original oil painting by Tom Lybeck: “Mary!”