Pastor David B. Curtis

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Mary Meets the Risen Christ

John 20:11-18

Delivered 01/13/19

We are drawing near the end of the exposition of the Gospel of John. This has been a great learning experience for me and I'm a little sad that we are drawing to a close. We have been looking at the death and burial of our Lord in the final chapters of this Gospel. Last week we looked at the empty tomb, which assured us that the Lord had risen just as He said He would. But so far no one has seen the risen Lord. Well that changes in the rest of this chapter.

Chapter 20:11-29 deals with three of our Lord's four post-resurrection appearances in this Gospel. The first appearance is to Mary Magdalene, and the next three are to the disciples. Yeshua will appear to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18), then to the disciples, minus Thomas (20:19-23), then to the disciples, with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples, including Thomas, who were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias in chapter 21.

These post resurrection appearances of our Lord are very important because they give evidence of the truth of the resurrection. And the resurrection is important because everything about the Christian faith stands or falls upon the truth of the resurrection of Yeshua the Christ.

As we study all four Gospels we see that Yeshua made about ten appearances after His resurrection. He appeared to Mary Magdalene. He appeared to the other women. He appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He appeared to Peter, and John, then He appeared to the disciples without Thomas, then He appeared to the disciples with Thomas. He appeared to seven of the disciples on the shore of Galilee, and then to 500 brethren, probably on a mountain in Galilee. And then He appeared to them over a span of 40 days. And what is interesting is that all His appearances were to believers. There was only one unbeliever to whom He appeared after His resurrection, anyone know who that was? It was Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. But once the Lord appeared to him, he wasn't an unbeliever any longer.

As I said these appearances give evidence that Yeshua had in fact risen from the dead, just as He said He would. This is important because you cannot be a Christian without believing in the resurrection:

because, if you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 ESV

"Confess"— is from the Greek word homologeo, which means: "to say the same thing." To confess that Yeshua is Lord is to say the same thing about Him that Yahweh does, and the Gospel does and the Bible does.

"God raised Him from the dead"—the resurrection from the dead proved that Christ was and did all He said He was and said He would do.

In the Roman world, Caesar had the power of death. Threats to Roman rule were mercilessly crushed. Everyone in the Roman world knew that the cross had a clear symbolic meaning; it meant that Caesar ruled the world, with cruel death as his ultimate and regular weapon. The problem, from the standpoint of Roman rule, is that Yeshua didn't stay dead. The resurrection demonstrates that Yahweh has a power utterly superior to that of Caesar. Rome crucified Yeshua. But God raised Him from the dead and made Him LORD!

We looked last week at 20:1-10, which is the background of the story that we are going to look at this morning. We saw that Mary went to the tomb very early and discovered that the stone was taken away. So, she ran to Peter and Lazarus and excitedly reported that the tome was empty. Peter and Lazarus immediately ran to the tomb. Peter entered the tomb and discovered the grave clothes without Yeshua's body. Then Lazarus goes in, saw, and believed that Yeshua was risen. But Peter went away still pondering what had happened. After viewing the empty tomb, both men returned to where they had been staying in Jerusalem.

The narrative now returns to Mary Magdalene who was the first to discover the empty tomb. Apparently, she had followed the two men back to the tomb, but when they left, she remained.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. John 20:11 ESV

Who is this Mary Magdalene?

Mary Magdalene was a woman from whom Yeshua cast out seven demons:

and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Luke 8:2 ESV

Seven is the biblical number of perfection, so perhaps Luke is telling us that Mary was under the total domination of satanic power. The name Magdalene likely indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Yeshua cast seven demons from her, she became one of His disciples.

Let me pose to you a possibility: Lazarus's sister, Mary, and Mary Magdalene may be the same woman. I said last week that Mary was Lazarus' sister, let me expound on that a little. The Fourth Gospel has Mary (with her sister Martha) at the raising of brother Lazarus. Next, still in the company of her brother and sister, she anoints Yeshua for His burial. Next (now called Mary Magdalene) she is at the cross, still with her brother (now called "the disciple whom Yeshua loved"). And finally, she is the discoverer of the empty tomb, who runs to tell her brother ("the disciple whom Yeshua loved") and Peter. If Mary, Lazarus's sister, and Mary Magdalene are one person, then her story moves directly from Lazarus to "the disciple whom Yeshua loved" and proves that they are also one person.

The Fourth Gospel has carefully paired Mary with Lazarus in certain episodes and then paired Mary Magdalene with "the disciple whom Yeshua loved" in certain episodes. This pattern could hardly be coincidental; it must be an effort to tell us something. As I said, I think the reason Lazarus focuses strictly on Mary is because she is His sister.

I'm sure that you have all heard of the book, The DaVinci Code. This book written by Dan Brown, which was released, in March 2003, is said to have sold over 60 million copies worldwide by 2006. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for 148 weeks. It's been translated into over 40 languages. In May of 2006 it was made into a movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.

The book and move have generated a lot of interest in Mary of Magdala and in the apocryphal Gospel of Mary of Magdala. This so-called gospel was a work of a heretical second century Egyptian sect known as the Gnostics and presents Mary of Magdala as a leader among the Apostles and as the wife of Yeshua.

Gnosticism was a heretical movement active in the second and early third centuries of the Christian era, which denied the divinity of Christ and offered salvation on the basis of a complex secret wisdom available only to members of the sect. By the mid third century AD Gnosticism had pretty much died out, but strains of Gnosticism reemerged later in some of the medieval heresies. Personally, I believe that Gnosticism is still alive within the umbrella of Pretersim. Gnostics believed that they were incapable of committing sins, although they engaged in behavior that the Bible condemns as sinful. Today within the sphere of Preterism there are some who are saying that sin ended in AD 70, and therefore, we do not sin today. They engage in acts that the Bible calls sin, but they believe are no longer sinful. Thus, it is okay to commit adultery.

The claim of this book is that Yeshua was not declared to be divine until the fourth century, which is ludicrous. The writings of Paul were written within a decade after the Resurrection in which Paul clearly declares Yeshua's divinity and the Gospels clearly lay out the deity of Christ. The successors to the Apostles in the late first and second centuries also affirmed the divinity and humanity of Christ and frequently quoted Gospel passages as well as passages from Paul's Epistles along with the letters of Peter, James, Jude and John.

At one point the book's protagonist argues that Mary Magdala is referred to as Yeshua's "companion" (referring to an incomplete line in the Gnostic third century Gospel of Philip) and that this word indicates that Mary was Yeshua's spouse because that's what the Aramaic word really means. Unfortunately, Dan Brown apparently doesn't seem to know that both the so-called Gospel of Mary Magdala and the so-called Gospel of Philip are not written in Aramaic or even in Greek; both are written in Egyptian Coptic!

The other lies raised in the DaVinci Code that Mary of Magdala was married to Yeshua of Nazareth and bore children is ridiculous. This heresy reemerged in the 19th century with a romantic novel by a French author named Renan, which pictured Yeshua as the object of the physical love of Mary of Magdala.

In his letter to the Corinthians (9:4-5), when Paul was defending his right to have a wife, even though it was a right he did not exercise, he mentioned that Peter, the other Apostles and even the kinsmen of Yeshua had their wives with them in their missionary work for the Church. If Yeshua had also been married, Paul would have surly included this information in his argument. Okay, with that as some background on Mary, let's look at our text:

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. John 20:11 ESV

The words "weeping" and "wept" here are from the Greek word klaio ,which according to Strong's means: "to sob, that is, wail aloud." This speaks of the loud lamentations and expressions of grief typical of mourners in the Near East. This same verb is used of Mary weeping at her brother Lazarus' tomb (11:31). I'll talk more about this connection between our text and John 11 in a minute.

Why was she weeping? She believes Yeshua's body has been stolen. Let's remember that Mary Magdalene witnessed most of the events surrounding the crucifixion. She was aware of the mock trial of Yeshua; she knew that Pontius Pilate pronounced the death sentence; and she saw Yeshua beaten and humiliated by the crowd. She was one of the women who stood near Yeshua during the crucifixion to try to comfort Him. She looked on as His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Now, she believed that the body of her Lord had been taken. It was almost too much to bear. Watching the crucifixion had been horrific. You have to work through the emotional shock of such an event.

For Lazarus, weeping is the sign that Mary has not yet imagined the possibility of the resurrection. She has not remembered the promise of His resurrection. Here is a devoted disciple of Yeshua, and yet she obviously did not believe or did not remember what Yeshua had taught her. We know from Mark, chapter eight, that Yeshua had told His disciples:

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31 ESV

He said He would "be killed and after three days rise again." We know from Mark, chapter nine, that He had told them that:

for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise." Mark 9:31 ESV

After three days He will rise. We know from Mark ten that He said:

And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise." Mark 10:34 ESV

There were probably other occasions on which He explained to them His trial, death and resurrection, and as we saw last week, the Feasts of Yahweh spoke of resurrection, but they found it to incredible to accept.

"And as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb"this is the second reference concerning having to stoop to enter the tomb. This same verb is used to describe the action of the "disciple who Yeshua loved" in 20:5. Another connection to Mary and Lazarus.

Let me ask you this, What happened to the Roman soldiers who were supposed to be guarding the tomb? Matthew fill us in:

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. Matthew 28:2-4 ESV
While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. Matthew 28:11-15 ESV

Upon being informed by the Roman soldiers, the chief priests should have realized that Yeshua indeed had risen from the dead as He had prophesied, and as they had feared. They should have been wailing in repentance for what they had done to Him, not trying to bribe the Roman soldiers and cover it up.

Why did the Roman soldiers go along with this plan? They had no choice. They had failed to defend the Roman seal, so they were as good as dead if nobody intervened for them. That's why the Roman soldiers had gone to the chief priests instead of to their own barracks, which was just next to the temple. Back to our text:

And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Yeshua had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. John 20:12 ESV

"And she saw two angels in white"the Greek word for "angels" is aggelos, it means: "to bring tidings; a messenger; especially an "angel"; by implication a pastor. This word can be used for human messengers or heavenly messengers. These "messengers" evidently looked quite human to Mary. She does not realize that they are spiritual beings in human form. But from looking at the other accounts you have to wonder how she did not realize they were heavenly beings.

Mark 16:5 states a young man "dressed in white" who appears to the women; Luke 24:4 describes two men dressed in "clothes that gleamed like lightning" who stood beside the women; Matthew 28:2-3 says that an angel with the appearance of lightning and wearing a garment as white as snow rolled back the stone and frightened the guards and later talked with the women.

"Angels in white, sitting where the body of Yeshua had lain, one at the head and one at the feet"—the tomb was obviously large enough to accommodate "two" man-sized "angels," "sitting" at either end of the place where Yeshua's body had lain. This is the only place in Scripture where angels are described as "sitting."

We should know John well enough by now to be aware of the fact that by including these details he is also nudging his readers, especially his original Jewish audience, to understand something else. So what could this mean? What would his Jewish readers have associated with two angels about five to six feet away from each other?

This would have to make them think of Exodus 25 when the Lord gave instructions to build the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. He identified a place called the mercy seat. That was the place where God met men in mercy. That's where the high priest would go on the Day of Atonement, sprinkle blood to satisfy God. It was the mercy seat. It was of pure gold. It was inside the Holy of Holies. It was two-and-a-half cubits long, one-and-a-half cubits wide and had two Cherubim either end of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant.

And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you. "You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. Exodus 25:16-19 ESV

Drop down to verse 22:

There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. Exodus 25:22 ESV

I think Lazarus wants us to grasp that the death and resurrection of Yeshua constituted the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin whereby all believers can come into the presence of God as forgiven sinners. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, God now meets with us.

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." John 20:13 ESV

The angels asked Mary, "Woman, why are you weeping?" The angels didn't ask those questions to gain information! The inference is that her tears were not really called for. She was weeping because she was misinformed.

"She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him"—Mary used similar words in verse 2 with some adjustments: this time it is "my Lord" rather than just "the Lord," and the plural "we do not know" has now become singular "I do not know."

Her answer revealed that she still thought that someone had removed Yeshua's body from the tomb. She still seems to have no thought that maybe Yeshua rose from the dead.

In Mary's mind, this was the darkest moment of her life, she is a devoted disciple of Yeshua, she loved Him, and now not only had He been crucified, thy have taken His body and He doesn't even get a proper burial. But Mary's tears and great sorrow were based upon false assumptions: that Yeshua was dead; that His body had been stolen; that she would not be able to find His body. If Mary had known the real reason why the tomb was empty, she would not have been crying. The very thing that Mary was crying over was the thing that she should have been rejoicing over. Has that ever happened to you? It happened to Jacob:

Their father Jacob said to them, "You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and you would take Benjamin; all these things are against me." Genesis 42:36 NASB

Were all these things against him? No, just the opposite they were all working for him. Joseph and Simeon were both alive and Joseph was the Prime Minister of Egypt who would deliver Jacob and his family.

Believers, we often suffer needless sorrow because we forget that God is sovereign and that evil men can't do anything to thwart His eternal purpose. Think of the irony of this, Mary is weeping because the tomb is empty. When the empty tomb should have been the cause of great joy. But instead of looking at it from the divine standpoint, she's looking at it from the human standpoint.

Having said this, she turned around and saw Yeshua standing, but she did not know that it was Yeshua. John 20:14 ESV

Why does Mary turn around? John Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers who ministered in the 4th century, answers this question by saying that as the Lord appeared the angels did obeisance, and Mary turned to see to whom they were bowing.

"Saw Yeshua standing, but she did not know that it was Yeshua"—Why doesn't she recognize Him? Some scholars have suggested Mary's tears and grief have clouded her vision. Some say it because it was early morning, and she had hazy vision because of her tears. Some say it's because she thought He was dead, and therefore, couldn't believe it could be Him.

We are not told why Mary didn't recognize Yeshua. But we see this often in the resurrection narratives, Yeshua is not immediately recognized. The couple on the Emmaus road had no clue who He was, I think the text tells us why:

But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24:16 ESV

The NASB says, "But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him." The ending of Mark's Gospel says:

After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. Mark 16:12 ESV

I think that Mary didn't recognize Yeshua because she was "prevented from recognizing Him" because "he appeared in another form."

Here is what the Bible tells us about Yeshua's resurrection body; it can be touched and handled (John 20:27; Lk. 24:39), bears the marks of the wounds inflicted on Yeshua's pre-death body (John 20:20, 25, 27), it can cook fish (John 21:9) and eat fish (Luke 24:41-43). On the other hand, Yeshua's resurrection body apparently rose through the grave-clothes (John 20:6-8), appears in a locked room (vv. 19, 26), and is sometimes not recognized. That's what we know for sure, anything else is speculation.

Yeshua 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." John 20:15 ESV

Yeshua's first recorded post-resurrection words were, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" So Yeshua repeats the angels' words to Mary. Yeshua isn't asking these questions to gain information! He's trying to make Mary think. Perhaps He meant something like; What type of Messiah did she think Yeshua was?

"Supposing him to be the gardener"—why a gardener? If there may be a theological connection that John wants us to make to the tender of a garden? It's possible that there is a connection here to the first Adam who failed as the "tender" of the Garden of Eden. The first Adam could not protect his bride...he was not willing to sacrifice his life to protect the garden and Eve from the influence of Satan, but Yeshua as the "New Adam" has died for His Bride, and in doing so has broken Satan's power over man and now man is back in the garden.

"Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away"—the "if" here is a first class conditional sentence, which is assumed to be true from the speaker's perspective, "since you have carried Him away." She may be thinking that Joseph had put our Lord in his own tomb, a tomb worthy of a rich man, but He was now being transferred to another place. Her request shows us her devotion to Yeshua.

Yeshua said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). John 20:16 ESV

Does Mary's immediate response to the call of her name remind you of any particular teaching of Yeshua's?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28 ESV

Mary is one of His sheep, and she heard His voice.

"She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher)"—why does she turn to Him? She was talking to Him; did she turn away? Maybe, but this may be John telling us something. The word "turned" is the Greek word strepho, this word was also used by the early church for the turning away from the former life into the life of faith. Some even translate it "be converted" in some contexts. Perhaps John meant to explain that at the sound of Yeshua's voice Mary "was converted." Or that she turned from disbelief to faith.

Mary responds by calling Yeshua "Rabboni," which in Hebrew means: "master or teacher," but is considered a more dignified title than rabbi. The great scholar Gameliel was addressed as rabboni rather than rabbi. In the first century it is also a title appropriate for addressing God as the great Rabboni.

D.A. Carson writes, "In rabbinical Hebrew the term is regularly applied to God (in the expression 'rabbi of the world'), and this prompts Hoskyns (p. 543) to argue that although it may be used in reference to a human rabbi, it is never used in addressing a human rabbi. Mary's address therefore becomes a form of address to God, not unlike v. 28." Thomas also says, "My Lord and my God!"

Mary swung from the depths of despair, in her emotions, to the height of joy—in one brief second. Now she knows why the tomb is empty, He has risen.

The fact that Yeshua first appeared to Mary rather than to Pilate or Caiaphas or to one of His male disciples is significant. That a woman would be the first to see Him is an evidence of the narrative's historicity. No Jewish author in the ancient world would have invented a story with a woman as the first witness to this most important event. Yeshua may have introduced Himself to Mary first because she had so earnestly sought Him. And maybe it was because He loved her. Mary is one of the very few people that is said to be loved by Yeshua:

Now Yeshua loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:5 ESV

Lazarus and his sisters had a very special relationship with Yeshua.

Yeshua 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.'" John 20:17 ESV

"Do not cling to me"—it would seem that Mary had probably fallen to her knees in the traditional Jewish form of greeting someone special, and was clinging on to the legs of Yeshua. This reminds me of another scene with Mary and Yeshua:

Now when Mary came to where Yeshua was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Yeshua saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Yeshua wept. John 11:32-35 ESV

This text has much in common with our text; it is about May and Yeshua, Mary falls at His feet, the same Greek word for weeping, klaio, is used in both texts, the phrase, "Where have you laid Him?" is found in both texts. It seems to me that Lazarus is trying to tell us that his sister Mary, is Mary Magdalene.

"Do not cling to me"—Yeshua's words are very difficult to interpret. The translators rendered them: "Touch me not" (AV), "Stop clinging to me" (NASB), and "Do not hold on to me" (NIV). The tense of the imperative is present, and this grammatical construction often conveys the thought of ceasing to do something. So, we could literally translate this as "stop hanging on to me," implying that Mary was already clinging to Him.

Believe me when I say that there are lots of ideas as to what Yeshua means by saying, "Do not cling to me." I'm going to skip all of them except the one I think makes sense. Yeshua wasn't saying that Mary couldn't touch Him, but that she could no longer cling to Him in the physical sense. He had not yet ascended to the Father, but He would do so shortly. The resurrection had introduced a new relationship between Yeshua and His disciples, in which physical contact would no longer be possible, because He was ascending to the Father in heaven.

Mary had thought that Yeshua was dead and gone, never to be seen again. When Mary found that He was back she wanted to never let Him go. From a disciple's perspective it looked like John 14:28, "I am going away and I am coming back to you," had been fulfilled. She may have thought He's back for good. Paul seems to have captured the idea in 2 Corinthians:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16 ESV

The idea is that the resurrection has opened the door to a new, intimate, spiritual relationship between Yeshua and His disciples. Physical contact is no longer the appropriate mode of personal contact, even though it is still possible to appeal to touch as proof of the reality of the resurrection and of the continuity between the historical Yeshua and the risen Christ.

This also may be a jab at pre-Gnostics. The fact that Mary was clinging to Yeshua shows that He was not a phantom. He was raised bodily from the dead and He ascended bodily into heaven.

"But go to my brothers and say to them"—Yeshua not only first appears to Mary, He also commissions her to carry the good news to His disciples. As I have said before, this is striking, given the wider culture: both Jewish and Roman law normally regarded women's testimony as of quite limited value.

This is the first time in the Gospels that Yeshua called His disciples, "My brothers."Brothers is from adelphoi, which is plural in the Greek. Adelphos literally means "from the womb" in Greek, designating those born from the same mother.

Mary's announcement is prophetically found in Psalms 22:22-23:

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! Psalms 22:22-23 ESV

In calling the disciples "brothers" Yeshua was fulfilling this prophecy.

"I am ascending"—the present tense indicates that Yeshua is in the process of ascending to the Father, but has not yet reached His designation.

"To my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"—Yeshua didn't say "our" Father. Yeshua by nature is eternally the Son of God, whereas we are only sons of God by adoption. By His incarnation as the Son of Man, Yeshua could call the Father, "My God." He and His disciples had a different relationship to the Father. Nevertheless, they were all sons of the Father, but in a different sense.

The emphasis in Yeshua's statement was on the privileges that His disciples now shared with Him because of His death, resurrection, and ascension (Romans 8:15-16; Hebrews 2:11-12). Yeshua tells His followers that this relationship of closeness to God was one that had been opened up for them as well.

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:18 ESV

So, Mary stopped clinging to her Lord and went and told His disciples that she had seen Him and told them what He said to her.

Lazarus doesn't tell us how the disciples responded to this announcement, but Mark and Luke do:

She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. Mark 16:10-11 ESV
Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. Luke 24:10-11 ESV

They did not believe in a resurrection. They didn't even believe when somebody they knew well said, "I have seen the Lord." This will all change as we continue this text. The Lord will appear to them and they will believe. As we said at the beginning of this message, believing in the resurrection is necessary to being a Christian.

Hopefully, by reading through our Bibles every year we won't be like Mary and the disciples, we will know and believe the teaching of our Lord. We will understand that even when things look really bad, God is still sovereign, and we need to trust Him.

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