The Garden Tomb by Mary Stewart

Before Easter I was impacted by an article I read on Jesus' appearance to Mary in the garden tomb after the resurrection. In Mary’s sorrow she didn’t recognize Jesus, someone she knew very well.

Imagine yourself in this scene. Distraught, confused, and sad looking for Jesus’ body missing from where it was laid after his death. As the resurrected Jesus enters the tomb Mary is so upset that she doesn’t recognize him. Her grief and sadness cloud her judgment thinking it is the gardener. When Jesus calls her by name she immediately knows and cries out “Rabboni!” (Meaning teacher from John 20:16)
Even in the victory of the resurrection, Jesus made space for Mary’s grief. When struggling in grief, sadness, or confusion our judgment is not clear and it’s easy to lose sight of Jesus’ presence in our lives. At the moment we cry out his name, Jesus is already there. Can you hear him saying your name in the midst of your pain and grief?

It struck me that Jesus revealed himself first to those he loved in their deep sadness and grief. Jesus, Immanuel, God in the flesh met Mary right at the point of her need.
When I’m most feeling alone, misunderstood, or sad it brings me comfort as I imagine the presence of Jesus standing beside me, steadying, holding me, giving me hope. Jesus knows and understands what we are going through yet doesn’t force himself on us. He comes as close as he did with Mary in the garden tomb.
The end of the article said, “The risen Jesus brings salvation, and he brings himself” to comfort us and show us the way. We can’t forget this! Jesus is present now with what’s right in front of you. Whether it is your hurt, sickness, grief, broken relationship, or anything else. Jesus brings himself to us bringing victory. He is waiting to reveal himself to you right now, right where you are.

*To Be Met at the Garden Tomb: Jesus lingers with us in our loss, both during and beyond Easter. By Rachel Marie King, Christianity Today, February 14, 2024