But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,…
How does the risen Saviour reveal Himself?
I. TO WHAT LONGING?
1. Even then the seeing the risen One was not a thing of physical sight. It was dependent On the condition of the inner life. Not to the world, who did not want to be convinced, but to those who were longing to be fully convinced that He was the Saviour.
2. Mary, foremost among these, could not tear herself away from the grave. She had passed through the scene at Calvary in mute amazement; now she realized that her heart had lost its last stay, and the whole world seemed like an empty tomb. What would become of her now His Divine life was no longer there for her poor life to cling to, as ivy to oak, and train itself heavenwards.
3. Is not this a page in our history? The Saviour once took you by the hand and your life began to twine itself around His. Then this childlike confidence was lost, but the longing remains. This is the deepest sorrow — to know what can help and to have lost it — to seek the Lord among the evidences of His life, and have only an empty grave to go to. When we have to stand before our own life as before an empty tomb, which reminds us only of what we have lost, and in which we cannot find our childhood's Saviour there is no comfort for us. A risen and living Saviour is what we want. It would not have helped Mary had she found the buried One. If our longing souls rest in the fact that He has lived, what can He be to us? He is not here; He is risen, is the Divine message to us.
II. IN WHAT EXPERIENCE? While Mary is still hopeless He is beside her. Though invisible and unknown He is near all who seek Him. Why not disclose Himself then? "Woman, Mine hour is not yet come." The experience God gives depends for its value on our susceptibility, and this comes to maturity only by persistent seeking. She turns again to seek Him when Jesus says, "Mary!" It was through her name that the Lord revealed Himself. A name may awaken emotion, as when you hear the voice of one long absent. She knew her Lord in that He knew her. Her name is written in His heart for ever. It is the heart that recognizes the living Saviour.
III. WITH WHAT DIRECTIONS The complaint of the heart is not of the reality of precious moments, but that they are only moments. Mary had no advantage in this over us. The moment she recognized Him He says, Touch Me not. Stern but needful words. Mary needed to be taught that the fellowship of the future would be very different from that of the past. Few had enjoyed His intimacy, henceforth all might and in a higher form. Their dependence on Him as a man must be changed into a holier relation — "brethren." All this Mary had to learn amid her joy, that her joy might not be taken from her when the Lord should ascend. And as this joy would naturally seek to retain the beloved object she is bid serve Christ by going to His brethren and bearing witness to others. Moments such as this are short and fleeting; must be; should be. It is not good to live on mountain peaks. Mary now knew that what is needed for the service of Christ is power from on high.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,