Jesus meets Mary Magdalene

Peter Barnes: John 20: 11-18

(20 October 2019)


– Luke 8:1-2 for who she was. She was at the crucifixion, and had gone to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of our Lord.

1. Faith clouded by misunderstanding.

– 20:11; the same word used in John 11:31, 33 (but not John 11:35). R. C. H. Lenski: ‘Indeed, why does she weep? – when we should all have had cause to weep for all eternity if what she wept for had been given her, the dead body of her Lord!’

– 20:12-13; her first thought is: ‘Someone has taken the body.’ Even when Mary saw Jesus, she did not recognise Him – 20:14-15; see Luke 24:13-16, 30-31.

– the risen Son of God stands before Mary, and she thinks that He is the gardener! Norman Lindsay: ‘Faith exists by repudiating inquiry, by willful ignorance, by submission to any will but one’s own.’ The opposite is true.

2. Jesus knows His people by name.

– 20:16; see Isa.43:1; John 10:3. Surely, Mary never forgot this moment.

3. We have Christ in heaven.

– 20:17. Don Carson thinks that this belongs with the handful of ‘the most difficult passages in the New Testament’, but that may overdo it. Richard Sibbes: ‘Mary was too much addicted to Christ’s bodily presence.’ Sibbes adds: ‘instead of raising their hearts to God and Christ in a heavenly manner, they pull down God and Christ to them.’

Augustine: ‘He does not say, “Our Father”: in one sense, therefore, is He mine, in another sense, yours; by nature mine, by grace yours.’