But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,…
1. Christians are often sorrowful, when, if they had clearer knowledge and stronger faith, they would rejoice.
2. Angels sympathize with Christians in their sorrow. If they shed no tears they are not indifferent to ours.
3. The thought of losing Jesus is enough to make His friends weep. When He is absent from the Church, and outward shows divert the eye from the Lord; when, instead of a living Christ, there is only a sepulchre, no whitening of which can compensate for the absence of the Prince of Life; and when He is absent from the pulpit, and where criticism, or philosophy, or Jewish ethics, or Christian polemics are discussed, and the living, loving Christ is absent; and when by worldliness we have no longer that fellowship with Him we once enjoyed — if we are indeed His friends we shall weep, saying of our follies and our sins (ver. 13).
4. Jesus is often very close to His disciples when they do not perceive Him (ver. 14). We are so absorbed in sorrow that we do not see Him who comes to soothe it. We often think He is farthest when He is nearest. Is He not "a very present help in trouble?" Like Mary, also, we sometimes mistake Him for the gardener. We think only of the servant when we should acknowledge the Master. We rest in the means of grace when we should rise to the Giver of grace.
5. Christ's first resurrection-word was one of consoling sympathy — not of power, victory, or vengeance. He is tender, loving still. He spake to Mary, and to womanhood through her. He knew how often woman weeps unseen, what a martyrdom of grief she often undergoes by sensibilities wounded, yearnings unsatisfied, love unrequited, closest ties torn asunder, anxieties and toils which only love like hers could enable her to endure, and wounds hidden from all eyes, which only love like hers could bear and yet conceal; and so Christ's first word after His resurrection was one of sympathy with woman's grief. Seeking Jesus is the best antidote to weeping.
6. True love may be combined with deficient knowledge. "Sir, if Thou have borne Him hence," &c. No name had been mentioned, but Mary speaks as if because He was uppermost in her feelings all the world besides must think of "Him" too. So let the thought of Jesus be in our hearts. Will He be pleased? What would He have me do? In this enterprise, in that company, shall I have His presence and enjoy His blessing?
7. Christ knows His disciples individually. He addresses her by the old familiar name (ver. 16). The friend of former days was still individually dear. Are we in sorrow, inconsolable, forgetting Him who sends it for our good? He reminds us of His presence, saying, "Mary!" Are we fearing some danger as though we had no Almighty Friend to protect us? He places Himself between us and it, and says, "Mary!" Are we becoming worldly, restraining prayer, toying with temptation, looking at some forbidden fruit till it becomes pleasant in our eyes? Jesus, in a tone of faithful remonstrance, says, "Mary!"
8. Every true disciple recognizes the Saviour's voice (ver. 16). Do we thus confess Him to be "Master," saying, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" In sorrow, do we submit with patience, and say, "Rabboni"? In danger, do we trust with holy confidence and repeat, "Rabboni"? When tempted, do we turn at His reproof and penitently, resolutely exclaim, "Rabboni"? At death, Jesus will say, "Mary! It will be the voice not of an enemy, but of our best, our heavenly Friend. It will be Jesus coming to take us to Himself. Shall we be ready at once to welcome Him as Rabboni? When He sits on the throne of judgment He will invite to His kingdom every one of His faithful followers, with an individual recognition, calling each by name — Mary! Shall we be among them and joyfully respond, Rabboni"?
(Newman Hall, LL. B.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,