Mary of Magdala has swapped the cross for the tomb.
But… the mood is the same… she is weeping.
Weeping as she watched her saviour brutally killed.
Now, she has the added distress of Jesus body having been taken.
They have abused him, whipped him, tortured him, and killed him – why could they not let him now rest in peace?
Mary is weeping.
What is it we are weeping about?
And who are we weeping with this morning?
Who is crying bitterly this day?
We begin by being invited to stand with Mary as she weeps…
Let us just have one last look inside the tomb – we might be surprised what we see!
As we look in – we see Angels – both in white – one at the head of where Jesus should be laid – and one at the feet…
Where had they come from?
They were not there a minute ago when Peter and John were inside the tomb?
Or maybe they were?
Maybe sometimes you can only see angels through tears.
When people are afraid, angels say “do not be scared”.
When people cry, angels ask why?
Why are you weeping?
And it’s here we can name it – we can say the things on our heart.
All out tears and pain summed up with Mary’s tears.
Mary is asked once again, this time by a man,
“Why are you crying”?
Who is this man? What has it got to do with him? Who is he?
Through tears it is hard to see – Mary guesses it is the gardener…
Of course, she is wrong… but in another beautiful way as Tom Wright suggests she is right…
For this is the new creation.
Jesus is the beginning of it.
The new Adam, the gardener, charged with bringing chaos of God’s creation into new order, into flower, into fruitfulness.
He has come to uproot the thorns and thistles and replace them with blossoms and harvests.
And as we come with Mary to this mysterious man with all our pain and suffering - he can make something beautiful with us too.
The gardener is here – transformation is here – new life is here – hope is here – healing is here – beauty from ashes is here – tears to joy is here.
This gardener is Jesus – the risen Christ – and he is here.
“What are you looking for”, Jesus’ second word…
A question he asks each one of us…
What are we looking for?
The Bible is clear that we are looking for God – desperate to be in a right relationship with Him…
And Mary gets it right! “I am looking for my Jesus”.
Mary is hungering and thirsting for Jesus and she finds him.
And if we thirst and hunger – we will find him too.
Then his presence will be ours – and that presence makes everything else on the planet redundant – incomparable to the peace we have in Jesus.
So, let us be looking for Jesus with Mary.
Not just on a Sunday morning… but 24/7.
The third word “Mary”.
Hear him say that name “Mary”!
Now hear him say yours…
Because of the cross, wherever you go, whatever you face he is with you.
Every trial, every storm, every doubt – he is with you.
In that name “Mary”, he says yours, and it means “here I am with you – here we are together”.
Hear him say your name – hear the personal relationship.
He knows you – created you – knows what is best and is creating a masterpiece out of your life.
Hear him say your name.
The third word “Mary”.
Rabbouni” or “teacher” – Mary recognises him at last – her rabbi.
But she is wrong.
That was the relationship before the cross – now everything is different!
Maybe you had someone you called “Sir” or “Aunty” or “Mr and Mrs” growing up – and one day they say call me by my first name… a relationship change…
Or the day I was able to call myself a husband and a father. A significant relationship change…
Well listen to the next word from Jesus…
In the gospel of John God is referred to as “my father, the father who sent me”.
The disciples are referred to as “disciples, servants, and friends”…
But now hear the amazing forth word.
“Go to my brothers (yes, brothers – family) and say to them, I am going up to my father and your father (your father) to my God and your God (your God)
Incredible words – now because of the cross – we are now brothers and siters with Jesus and his father is now our father – because of the cross – everything has changed.
Something has altered.
A new relationship has been ushered in.
Those looking for the master – are welcomed into a new world – where we can know the untameable, unfathomable, all-powerful God as our father.
Mary responds by running and declaring the beautiful testimony.
“I have seen the Lord”.
And for who search and find – for all who have had tears wiped away – we shout with Mary “I have seen the Lord”.
This week may many hear our testimony, “we have seen the Lord”.
And may many come to know the beauty of following Jesus.