The Risen Christ and the Magdalene
John 20:15
Jesus said to her, Woman, why weep you? whom seek you? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him…

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I. HOW JESUS WAS HIDDEN FROM MARY. There are times when friends are unrecognized because of mental absorption or because of our belief that they are elsewhere, or because of a supposed moral impossibility that they should be there.

1. Mary was under the influence of unfavourable associations.

(1) She had passed the interval doubtless with the disciples occupied with preparations for the completion of the embalmment. Her thoughts, therefore, were about the tomb in which the joy of her life seemed buried, and her companions would not exert any counteracting influence. The best answer to the calumny that they invented or dreamed the Resurrection is that they were all so unprepared for it. While the Lord was with them, disease and death fleeing at His presence, they could not believe that He would die. Now that He had died they forgot all His assurances that He would live again. It is not surprising, then, if Mary, drawn into the current of their unbelief and despair, should have her vision now dimmed.

(2) In our own daily life, are we not continually drawn away into modes of thinking and feeling which operate to hide Christ from us? Modern teaching and example tend to weaken the realizing power of faith. Numbers tell us that our own wisdom and strength are sufficient to find the blessed life; that sin needs no cleansing in Christ's blood, and the heart no quickening by His love. Then there is the spirit of unconfessed doubt, more deadly than antagonism to trust in Christ, and indifference, which is more deadly still. All this helps to blind the spiritual vision.

2. Closely connected was Mary's false notion of Jesus. He was, despite His own promise, a dead Jesus to her. And so false thoughts of Him are largely the cause of unbelief and hatred on the one hand, and of doubt and hesitation on the other. Men are thinking of another Christ than He who came that we might have life — of the Christ as churches have often made Him — the Christ of creeds and systems, of the dead letter rather than of the living Spirit, of sect or school. And men's minds are so full of these representations that they do not know Him who is love.

3. Tears blinded Mary's eyes. So may sorrow, joy, excitement, dim ours. Our mistake may differ from hers. We may mistake the gardener for Christ. All do so who put priest, church, system, &c., in the place of Christ.

II. JESUS CONVINCED AND SUBDUED MARY. He had but to turn His eye upon her, and address His gracious words to her; and then when her eyes were opened and her ears caught the sound of His voice there was no doubt or hesitation longer.

1. Here we see the marvellous personal attraction of Jesus. Again and again do we find friends and foes impressed by His aspect. In the synagogue at Nazareth; in the Temple before the accusers of the woman taken in adultery; in the garden when the soldiers fell to the ground. Is the power of His personal influence lost because He is no longer here as man with men? No; His dealings with Mary are a type of His dealings with us.

2. He manifests Himself everywhere to seeking souls. Why was Mary honoured to be the first! We might have thought His mother would have been selected, or John, or Peter. Christ blesses men not because of birth, or talent, or office, but according to the humility and earnestness with which they seek Him.

3. He revealed Himself in a personal call, and only as Mary heard and answered that call was her joy complete. And there are innumerable voices that come from Him to-day — voices of mercy or affliction; voices that waken to gratitude or melt to penitence; voices that startle in the ease of carnal security or that comfort in the hour of trouble; voices to break the stubborn heart or to revive the heart of the contrite one — and not one of them is without signification.

(J. Guinness Rogers, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

WEB: Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?" She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."

The Lord's Question to Mary
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