Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Sweetest Words Ever Heard

JOHN 20:11-17 – 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.’”

THEME OF THE DAY. THE SWEETEST WORDS EVER HEARD. Jesus meant so much to her. He healed her from the misery of demon possession. Dead in sins, He made her spiritually alive. She would be by His side as much as possible. If ever someone loved the Lord Jesus Christ, it was Mary. And now He was gone. She watched Him die in the most humiliating of ways; public execution on a cross. And now He was gone. To say Mary’s heart was crushed is an understatement. To read the words of today’s scripture, “But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb” and think this was a few tears shed over a personal loss is to fail to see the depth of love she had for Jesus. And now He was gone. So, she thought.

As Mary dialogues with a man she supposes to be the gardener, she is about to hear the sweetest words the human ear will ever receive. And they are words from God Himself. They are personal words, encouraging words, and words which will take anyone in the deepest pits of sorrow and raise them to the highest heights of joy and hope. And now the words.

The gardener is identified, and, in a way, He is the gardener; the Divine Gardener who not only is the Creator of the gardens of the world, but the Vine who will make the hearts of His people “His garden” from which He will grow the Fruit of His Spirit. As Mary turns to face Jesus, she hears her name – “Mary”. Friends don’t miss this intimate moment. God calls her by her name. He is a personal God who deals with individuals. Like Mary. Like you. Like me. In the familiar “Good Shepherd” passage in John’s gospel, we are taken face-to-face with the soul-lifting truth of how personal our God is. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:1-3). Discouraged and weeping Christian, get alone with your Bible and your God. Let Him speak “your name” as His sheep and transform you like He did Mary.

But there is more. Jesus not only calls Mary by her name, but He declares to her the greatest privileges a human will ever be given and may embrace. Our Lord says to her, “Go to my brothers and say, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Stop. Think. Worship. We may call the Creator, “Our Father.” We may call the Great “I am”, “Our God.” There is nothing more powerful and life-giving to be able to claim those titles of our Creator. They are indeed some of the sweetest words every heard and then ever spoken by us. May the Lord help us to live them out as His redeemed children and people.

PRAYER: “Father, may I grasp with great force the astounding truth You, my God, are also my Father.”

QUOTE: “For God to allow us to call Him ‘Father’ is a privilege promoting the greatest of efforts to obey Him.”