Mark 16:1-11 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away --- for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples --- and Peter --- that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. NKJV
The Apostles were fearful and so distraught after the death of our Lord having not understood His words that He would rise from the dead. This drove them into hiding fearing the same end endured by our Lord for them. The Scriptures never tell us that any of them went to our Lord’s tomb after His death. The women led by Mary Magdalene went to our Lord’s tomb early in the morning Sunday to anoint His body with more spices. They did not know how they would get the tomb open nor were they aware of the Roman soldiers placed there to guard the tomb, but they were greeted by angels and the angels had already rolled back the stone from the tomb. When the women went in they saw the tomb empty.
You know I’ve read some detailed accounts on why our Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene first and not one of the other women or one of the Apostles. Likewise I have read and heard those give the simplest and the obvious reason of her being their first when our Lord rose from the dead. However, when our Lord rose from the dead, He was in a supernatural, resurrected, and glorified body of flesh and bone. He could have left the area of His tomb immediately and appeared to the Apostles in whatever house they were locked away in hiding from the Jewish rulers. Our Lord could have found His Mother Mary and showed Himself to her first.
Our Lord specifically chose to stay by the empty tomb knowing that this woman would come there early that Sunday morning. Women in that culture were considered second class citizens by all of the Jewish men and especially the Jewish religious rulers. These men would pray every morning thanking God that they were not women. Our Lord of course knows all of this and during His days before His death on the cross He graciously and gladly welcomed many women to follow Him as He walked through the many towns healing and teaching. Our Lord had many women following Him during His days before the cross and they provided for Him from their substance.
Our Lord talked to women of all backgrounds, He healed them as He did for Mary Magdalene by casting seven demons out of her, and He wept with women openly in public as He did when Martha’s brother Lazarus died. He treated women with respect, love, compassion, and dignity. Here is a quote from the Holman’s Bible Dictionary, “He paid attention to them. His manner was inclusive and acknowledged their place in the kingdom He proclaimed. By what He did and what He said He elevated the status of woman.”
Our Lord did not rise from the dead and sit around the tomb bored trying to find something to do or someplace to go but He remained there providentially knowing Mary Magdalene would be coming at that precise hour/time. Much like when the Scripture in John Chapter 4 said, “He needed to go through Samaria” because He providentially knew the woman who had been married 5 times and was presently living in fornication with a man she was not married to would be at Jacobs well when He arrived. Mary Magdalene unlike Mary Mother of James and Salome stayed there at the empty tomb. Also according to the Apostle John’s account, he and Peter were told by Mary Magdalene that the tomb was empty and both of them ran to the tomb and saw it empty just as she told them. Our Lord could have chosen that particular time to appear to Peter, John, and Mary Magdalene but He waited until Peter and John left as the Scripture says, “Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.”
Though Mary Magdalene was sorrowful she still held out some hope of finding out where our Lord’s body was and so she stayed there alone at His tomb. She just like the Apostles did not believe He had risen from the dead despite the fact that the angel just told her and the other two women with her that He is not here but He is risen. When our Lord revealed Himself alive to her first it is because He chose her to see Him in His resurrected body first just as He chose Peter, James, and John to witness many of His miracles privately from the other 9 disciples. It was an honor bestowed to Mary Magdalene by our Lord to be the first to witness Him alive from the dead. Why? The secret things belong to the Lord. She then turned to Him and fell at His feet clinging to Him not wanting to let go. When she went back to the 11 disciples they thought she spoke as a talebearer or story teller and they did not believe her words.
Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. NKJV
“It was she out of whom he had cast seven devils; much was forgiven her, and much was given her, and done for her, and she loved much; and this honour Christ did her, that she was the first that saw him after his resurrection. The closer we cleave to Christ, the sooner we may expect to see Him, and the more to see of Him.” Matthew Henry
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…