Mary Madalene couldn’t sleep as she remembered all that had happened. So early on Sunday morning she got up and made her way to the tomb where, on Friday, she had seen the body of Jesus being laid. She had stood with the other women by the cross watching him die. She had experienced the 3 hours of darkness and heard his cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Then, after the darkness, she heard his triumphant affirmation, “It is finished!” Just before he died she heard him say, “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.” She was overwhelmed with grief as she saw his lifeless body hanging on the Cross. The man who was more full of life than anybody else she had ever known had died! It seemed as if the powers of evil had won!
Before she met Jesus, Mary’s life had been sad and tragic. She had been possessed by seven demons. Her life was dominated by these evil spirits and there was no way of escape. Then Mary met Jesus. He cast the demons out and set her free. Her life was transformed and she became one of a small group of women who provided help and support to Jesus and his disciples. In this way Mary expressed her love for Jesus and her gratitude for all he had done for her.
When she arrived at the tomb she was dismayed to see that the stone had been removed from the entrance. She assumed that the enemies of Jesus had taken his body away. She stood outside the tomb weeping. When she looked into the tomb she saw two angels who asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She replied, “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have laid him.” Then she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but didn’t realise it was him. She thought he was the gardner. Then he said, “Mary”, and she recognised him and was filled with joy.
Mary Madalene was an ordinary person, just like you and me, who experienced the pure and selfless love of Jesus. Like Mary our lives may also be in a terrible mess. We may feel powerless to change things. Yet experiencing the power and love of Jesus will turn our lives around. He gives us a new start. Because he died and rose again we, too, can experience God’s forgiveness and have a sure hope for the future.