This is another of those passages that has been read many times, but this morning while reading through this part of John’s Gospel, I noticed something that had not connected with me previously.
When Simon Peter and the other disciple (John) arrived at the tomb and entered it, they checked it out, seeing that Jesus body was no longer there, and went home.
5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
When Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb, after the disciples were there, since she ran to tell them about the empty tomb, she stayed and wept. While weeping, she looked inside the tomb and saw the two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been. Following a talk with the Angels, Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not yet know it was Him. She didn’t recognize Jesus until He called her by name. Then she responded to Him, followed by again running to the disciples to tell them she had seen Jesus.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she 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 in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
Peter (and John) ran to the tomb to see for themselves what Mary Magdalene had told them. When they discovered the tomb was empty they went home. When Mary returned to the tomb, she waited, weeped, then looked again, first seeing the angels inside the tomb, then seeing Jesus outside the tomb.
These instances cause me to wonder. How often have I run, or gone someplace with expectations to find something out, or meet with Jesus, and when nothing happens immediately, I leave. Or even in personal prayer time, gathering myself together, expecting Jesus to meet me under my conditions, and nothing happens quickly, so I pack it in and leave,
Mary spent time at the empty tomb. She was sorrowful, and waiting. Finally Jesus came to her, and then He called her by name, after she didn’t readily recognize Him. When Mary heard the Saviour say her name, she knew immediately who it was.
I believe the “secret” is to spend time waiting for Jesus, not to be in a hurry, and He will come to us, He will call out our name, and we will recognize Him.
When Jesus Christ calls our name, we will surely recognize Him. What we do at that time is a decision we need to make individually.