Weeping for the Wrong Thing
John 20:15
Jesus said to her, Woman, why weep you? whom seek you? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him…

I. THE CAUSE OF MARY'S WEEPING. Try for a moment to think of the body of Jesus as being only that of a common mortal. Let the instance be that of one dear to yourself. The body has been safely laid away, and the earth heaped over it. Suppose, then, that in a morning or two you find the grave broken open and the body removed. Your feelings upon such an outrage would enable you to understand the feelings of Mary here. No feeling is more proper than that which regards the body of a dead friend as something sacred. Consider, too, what an extraordinary Benefactor to Mary Jesus had been. Out of her he had cast seven demons.

II. THE QUESTION COMES FROM THOSE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO ASK IT. It is the question of angels, and it is also the question of Jesus. It is the question of those who know the real state of things, to one who in anguish is following a falsehood - one of the likeliest of falsehoods, indeed, but a falsehood after all. As to Jesus, he would ask the question with a sort of secret joy, well knowing how quickly those tears would be dried up, and how soon Mary would stand awed and gladdened before this stupendous revelation of immortality. The question was neither intrusive nor superfluous. How many are the tears and lamentations of ignorance! It seemed as if, in this matter of the Resurrection, the possible must become the actual, before even the possible could be credited. Jesus would not be astonished at this weeping of Mary; what he wanted was to deal with it promptly. He did not seek to weep with weeping Mary, but rather to have Mary rejoice with rejoicing angels, and with the rejoicing Jesus himself; and for once in the history of human sorrow this was possible. Mary would have been satisfied if she had found the corpse of Jesus: what shall she say when even more than the former Jesus appears? From the sense of absolute loss she passes to the sense of full possession. And yet, great as the joy was, it was not the greatest of joys, seeing it was only a revelation to the senses. This would not be Mary's last experience of weeping. Though risen from the dead, Jesus was about to vanish, so that the life in him might be manifested in another way. Mary had yet to win her way to the sober, steady gladness of the Christian's hope.

III. THE QUESTION IS ONE TO ALL WEEPERS. Many besides Mary have groaned over troubles of their own imagining. Many besides Mary have groaned over one thing, when they should have been groaning over something quite different. The feeling will not bear to be analyzed to its depths, and traced out to all its causes. Jesus can do little for weepers till they weep for the right things and in the right way. Oftentimes the right question would be, "Why are you not weeping?" We are glad when we ought to be sorry, and satisfied when we ought to be anxious. We may have had a very great deal of trouble, and yet all the time our cares have never gone deeper than our outward circumstances. It is hard to satisfy us in some ways, but very, very easy in others. Jesus will never complain that we are troubled about common losses and disappointments. Not to be troubled about these would only argue inhuman want of sensibility. But we should also be troubled because of our weakness towards everything that would make us Christ-like and well-pleasing to God. We need not bemoan the loss of an outward Jesus, a visible Jesus, a Jesus after the flesh; such a Jesus could do us little good. We want a Jesus within, blending with the life and making himself felt everywhere. - Y.

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."

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