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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 4 - Light Overcomes Darkness
B - The Resurrection and Appearance of Christ (John 20:1 - 21:25)
1. Events at the Passover dawn (Easter) (John 20:1-10)

c) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

JOHN 20:11-13
11 But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb, 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 They told her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.”

The two disciples went back after realizing that the tomb was empty. There was no use in staying.

However, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb after telling the disciples that it was empty. She stayed on, even though the two had gone home because she was not content with the mere fact that the body had vanished. She held on to him for he was the hope of her strength. Losing sight of the body, her hope melted away. So she wept bitterly.

In the depths of her grief, Jesus sent her two angels who appeared to the other women also. Here she was seeing them sitting by the empty tomb in white raiment lighting the gloom. But they could not comfort her because only seeing Jesus would do that. Her heart called out, "Where are you, my Lord?"

This silent call is addressed to us. What do we want? Why do we want what we desire? What are our goals? Do we accord with Magdalene and ask for nothing save to see Jesus? Is your heart crying for him to come again?

JOHN 20:14-16
14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn’t know that it was Jesus. 15 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”

Jesus responded to her cry. While others were content to see the empty tomb and hear angels, Mary Magdalene yearned for a vision; He alone. Jesus appeared to her, standing before her, an ordinary man without a halo.

She was deeply troubled, not recognizing Jesus’ voice nor hearing the angels. She wanted to see Jesus, not just to hear his words. Yet she failed to realize his presence at that moment, because the heart that is sorrowful misses Christ’s presence with us, and fails to hear his gentle words. Thus many who seek God the Creator have not found him, for they loved the seeking or asking rather than the Seeking Shepherd.

But Jesus knew Mary’s love and he broke through the barriers of her anguish with his words of compassion; he called her by name, revealing that he was more than man, and not the gardener. He is the all-knowing, the wise One, the Lord himself. He called Mary just as the Good Shepherd calls his sheep whom he knows by name, offering eternal life. He who loves Jesus experiences his love and receives forgiveness of sin as the Lord calls him by name, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus now calls you by name. Do you hear his voice, leaving behind all your doubts and sins to come to him?

Mary answered in a word, "Master!". The word Mary used (Rabboni) means one who knows all and is almighty. She has the privilege of being a learner in his school, and he bestows on her his knowledge, strength, protection and eternal life. So her answer resembles the rapture of the waiting Church which after a long expectation will see her Lord coming in the clouds, worship him in submission and praise him with Hallelujahs.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we bow before you for responding to Mary’s longings by appearing to her. You comforted her by your presence. Your word is life. Open our ears and hearts to receive your words. Grant us obedience to trust you with joy.


  1. Why did Mary not cease to search for the body of the Lord Jesus until he revealed himself to her, calling her by name?


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