As Mary reached out and clung to Jesus, her hands touched a real man with strength in his body. This was not a dream, but her friend and she grabbed hold of him. At that moment she likely sobbed with confused joy and would not want to let go.
Undoubtedly Jesus understood her emotions and the volume of her unanswered questions. But, this was not to be a prolonged hug-fest.
Mary was a friend but she was also a first century woman. She lived in the midst of societies that held low views of women. The praises of women were tied to their abilities to serve their man. Beyond that, they were considered inferior to men. Jesus made every woman think differently about herself. This encounter would once again empower a greater sense of her worth to God.
She thought the best thing she could do was mourn, but Jesus had a better idea.
Professor of Biblical Studies Brian Russell says,
Resurrection creates the Church as a missional movement. The women in this story shift from mourners taking spices to the tomb to proclaimers of the Resurrection Story. This group of women (only the two Mary’s and Joanna are named) becomes the initial witnesses and servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Profoundly in the 1st century, the testimony of women was not valid in a court of law. Thus, the first witnesses to the Resurrection come from the margins of society. God entrusted the Gospel to a band of marginalized women to become his initial preachers. Mission is the shared stewardship of all followers of Jesus the Messiah. Notice the implication for preaching here: proclamation is the sharing of testimony. The women experienced the resurrection of Jesus - now they have a message to announce.[i]
God has a habit of using people at the margins of society. Jesus modeled and taught his followers to view people differently than the surrounding cultures. When we are dismissive of others, we sometimes miss the message that God has them deliver.
When you are dismissive of yourself, you miss out on the message that God would have you bring.
The resurrection of Jesus gives all of us the most compelling message we can deliver. The God we dismissed and crucified overcame death and offers us freedom from our own demise.
The Resurrection is a worldwide message of God’s love to conquer death and sin on our behalf. We are all invited to come celebrate a future with the King of Life.
We are invited to let go of who we think we are. Are you the sinner living a life of mourning? The Resurrection call is to become a proclaimer of God’s Kingdom, world without end.
You are not whom you think you are. That, my friend, is good news. You are released from the past and called to proclaim that God is changing everything.