Ladies Class: Words with Mary at Empty Tomb
Soon everyone. So happy to see you back today, we are going to be continuing with this discussion around the words of the risen Jesus. So conversations that Jesus had with people after his resurrection. So the session title today is the risen Lord words with Mary. And of course here, we’re talking about Mary Magdalene and this is going to be the account that’s found in John chapter 20.
So John chapter 20 is where we’re going to be spending our time for the next little bit. But like yesterday, we started with a question, actually, we started with two questions yesterday, but I have one question for you today. I want you to think about this. What is the most beautiful sound in all of the world? If you had to think and had to pick one thing that you would describe as the most beautiful sound,
what would it be now? When I think about that and when I think about different times that I’ve been in different places where I’ve heard things that were very touching or things that I would consider very beautiful. Here’s some things that I thought of. I thought of the sound of my children when they gave me a really good belly laugh, you know, I really good,
like from the bottom of their toes, all the way through their little, little bodies shape, that laughter is beautiful. It’s beautiful. I was thinking about one of our favorite places to go is in South Carolina on Myrtle beach, which is where we spent a lot of time growing up. My grandparents lived there for many years and I still have family that lived close by there.
And there’ve been times that we’ve been there visiting the beach, and I know y’all being close. Maybe some of you can relate to this being close to the coast on some mornings I would get up early before anybody else would get up and go and sit down in the sand with my Bible and a cup of coffee and just have my morning Bible study time there.
And the sound of the waves, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach is such a beautiful sound, such a beautiful sound to me. I looked up what is the most beautiful sound in the world? Cause you know, you can find out anything on the internet and it’s all true. So I looked up what is the most beautiful sound in the world?
And you won’t believe this. They had a competition back in 2014 to discover the most beautiful sound in the world. And what happened was contestants from all over the world sent in recordings of things that they had recorded that they thought were beautiful. And so they narrow down the recordings. They narrow down all of the entries to 12, they narrowed it down to 12,
but there was one grand, a winner, one grand winner. And so I put a picture up on the slide for you and it’s not going to fully grasp it cause you can’t hear it. So you’re just going to have to imagine the 2014 first place winner for the most beautiful sound in the world competition where the sounds that emerged from a Malaysian swamp at dusk.
Now that was really interesting to me cause I’ve never been to a Malaysian swamp, and I’ve never been there at dusk and I’ve never heard it, but if it’s beautiful, I wanted to hear it and you can actually, you can actually look it up. So I’m going to challenge you to look up the Malaysian swamp at dusk and listen. It is very interesting.
It’s the sounds of the wildlife waking up and, and they are, they are making all these beautiful sounds, these beautiful noises and, and you can hear the frogs and the birds and all of these different creatures and the sounds that are coming out of that, that place in nature. And it was beautiful. It was beautiful. It’s a beautiful sound.
And there were other things that came in second place and third place and, and just a variety of things that people considered to be very beautiful. But as I thought about that question, the John 20 texts came to my mind because I think that if you were to ask Mary, what is the most beautiful sound in the world? She would give you a very unique perspective.
I think that if we were to ask Mary, what the most beautiful sound in the world would be, I think she would say, it’s the sound that I heard in a garden outside of an empty tomb when there was a stone rolled away that I was not expecting it was on that occasion early in the morning that she heard the most beautiful sound, the sound of her own name,
being spoken from the mouth of her beloved teacher, who she thought had died. And she thought she would never see again, but she heard him call out Mary in the garden. And I think maybe that was the most beautiful sound that she could ever imagine. John chapter 20 verses 11 through 18 is one of my most favorite scenes in the new Testament.
I think it’s just, I think it’s just such a scene to really imagine, to try to, to try to put it together in your head, what it must have been like, what it was to sounded like, what it must have felt like to be married in 1912, there was a pharmacist and his name is C Austin Miles. See Austin Miles was thinking about this very scene.
When he wrote down the words of a poem, a poem that was called, I come to the garden alone. He was thinking about what it must’ve been like for Mary. When he wrote these words, I come to the garden alone while the Dew is still on the roses and the voice side here, falling on my ear, the son of God discloses.
And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I’m his own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known. He speaks in the sound of his voice is so sweet. The birds, hush, their singing, the melody that he gave to me within my heart is ringing. And he walks with me and talks with me and he tells me I am his own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever, you know, that song was put to music a number of years later. And we still sing that song. Although I think it’s sad. Some people don’t sing it because they think it’s talking about Jesus talking to you and me and Jesus doesn’t talk to us in the same way anymore,
but that’s not what the song was about. The song was written from Mary’s perspective and what it must’ve been like to be in the garden with her risen savior. Can we even imagine it it’s beautiful, but I want to do something different today with this text, because I think most everybody might’ve at least read it or be familiar with what happened in this account.
So I want to do something different. I want to take us a little bit deeper and I want to look at this text with a different or from a different angle. See if there’s an interesting parallel that can be made with what happened to Mary, the actions that she took before and after seeing the risen Lord called her name. And they parallel the actions of a lost sinner before and after hearing the sound of the call today,
this is really interesting and I’m really excited to walk through this with you. And so that’s what we’re going to do for the next little bit. We’re going to walk in the footsteps of Mary in the garden that day, but we’re going to do it with a comparison in mind of what happens in the heart of someone who is a sinner and is who is repentant and who was listening to hear the voice of Jesus.
But first to appreciate the garden story, we’d have to talk a little bit about Mary and Jesus and their relationships. So we’re going to start there. The relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus has been a little bit tainted in books and in movies. And if you’ve read some books and seen some movies that I’m talking about, you know, that, that some have liked to put an angle on that relationship that that makes it look like Mary and Jesus had an,
an intimate relationship that they, that there was something more than a friendship there. And I want to just encourage us always like with anything, you know, not to add anything to the Bible, that’s not there. There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about a relationship like that. And it makes me sad because the relationship that Mary had with Jesus is a beautiful friendship,
a beautiful friendship. And so I want to talk about that and just give you a couple of references that I hope you can read that. Okay. A couple of references that talk about the history that Jesus and Mary shared. So there’s two references in mark 16, verse nine, and then in Luke chapter eight, verses two and three. So if you have your Bible,
you might just kind of flip over to mark chapter 16 nine. And this is going to describe one thing that we know, and this is something maybe a lot of people already know about Mary mark, 16 nine says now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary, Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast 17 minutes.
You remember this about Mary. She had been, she’d been possessed and Jesus early on in his ministry had cast out the demons from Mary. So hold onto that and then turn over in your Bibles to Luke chapter eight. And here’s something else we know about Mary and her relationship with Jesus, Luke chapter eight, verse one and two says now it came to pass afterward that he went through every city and village preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.
And the 12 were with him and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities Mary called Magdalene out of whom had come seven demons. So another reference to her possession that Jesus has filled her up and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward and Susanna, and many others who provided for him from their substance. So at some point in Jesus’ ministry,
he had cast out seven demons from married and some people say seven there, you know, in the Bible, that number is representative of completeness. And so some wonder if maybe it’s not so much that there were seven individual demons, or if the idea was that she was completely completely overtaken by these demons, that she was impaired severely by this possession and that she was suffering great.
That’s what that could be referring to. But Jesus rescued her. He freed her from that possession. And you know, if you take a minute to really think about what her life must have been like an, we don’t see demon possession like that in the same way, but if you can imagine what that must have looked like for her in her culture,
her, her in, in society alive, as someone who was possessed by a demon would have involved all kinds of, of rash actions, different things that might’ve been scary. It might’ve affected her physical self. Her, her physical state may have been affected. She may have been rejected. Can you imagine people may not have wanted to be around someone who was possessed by a demon?
I imagine a life of loneliness of helplessness, of fear, this lack of control. It must have been terrible, a feeling of weariness or brokenness. You can only imagine what her life must’ve been like under that demon possession, but Jesus came and in showing his power over the spiritual world, his power over the devil, he released her from that and she was forever grateful,
forever grateful for that. Jesus changed everything for her. He took the life that she had and he turned it completely around, gave her a new life free from that. And it was something that she never forgot because what we find in scripture is that she became a follower. She became a disciple of Jesus. And here in Luke, chapter eight, verses two and three,
we see that. Not only did she follow him, but she helped to provide for him. She provided for his needs. It says here that these ladies provided for him from their substance. That means from the things that they had from their possessions, they shared that with Jesus so that he could do his ministry, carry out his ministry. Jesus compassionately reached out to Mary and healed her.
And she loved him for his mercy, for the grace that he showed her. And she was faithful. She was faithful from that point on. And the reason I can say she was faithful from that point on is because you all, she never left him. She never left him. And this is something we can say about a lot of the women in the life of Jesus.
They didn’t leave. They were faithful. They were the ones at the end that stayed. And Mary stayed. She was devoted to him and she loved him. She saw him through that unfair trial. She saw him through that sentencing. She saw him through the beatings. She saw him through the crucifixion. Mary was the one that was at the tomb with other women to anoint the body of Jesus.
Mary was the one that came down and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Mary’s the one that ran off to find Peter and John. And so you’ve got to come see, he’s not there. She was the one that ran back. Mary was the one that after everybody else left, she stayed. She lingered in the gardens and it was Mary that would hear the spoken words of Jesus.
Come back to life. After she had seen everything that had happened to him, Mary’s love for him was unquestionable. Her faithfulness is seen in scripture. We can see it. And then we see in the garden, this, this kind of coming together in this moment where she hears her name and she has this interaction with Jesus, resurrected that we see all of the love and all the sorrow and all the graves come to this pinnacle in her life.
And then things change again for her in another way. And we’ll talk about that in just a little bit, the same love, the same sorrow, the same grace is what we see in the life of someone who has a tender heart for the gospel for hearing it for believing it and then responding to it in faithful obedience. So let us begin in John chapter 20,
and let’s walk through this with Mary and I’m going to pull out some things for you to look at some key words, some key words that will help us take what happened to Mary and apply it to what happens to someone who hears the call of the gospel. All right. Chapter 20 verse 11, but Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping. And I just was up there right there at the very beginning and look at this word weeping.
And in my Bible, I, I, I circled it. I circled the word weeping because it is a Greek word. And I think I put it up on the screen. K L a I O Claudio. It means we’ve been out loud, out loud, weeping. It is expressing uncontainable audible grief. That means like a sobbing out loud that you can hear.
She was broken hearted. She was at the tomb. She is standing there. She knows that the tomb is empty. She’s already told Peter and John they’ve taken our Lord. I don’t know what they’ve done with him. And she is morning. And you know, why, what, what was causing her grief? You know, we could sit here and probably come up with a number of reasons.
Was she, was she so sad because she had wanted to come and do this last act of respects. This last anointing of his body, this last physical form of affection. And now she couldn’t was that what was causing her weeping? Did she think that maybe somebody had come an enemy of Jesus and desecrated? The two done something taken his body? Was that what was causing her so much sorrow?
We don’t really know it could have been anything, but she was overcome with grief at hand. Not only now, has she lost and had to say goodbye to her Lord and savior, but now she doesn’t know where his body is. So I want you to think about that kind of sorrow. I want you to think of that hopelessness and that darkness,
because people feel that way today. Sometimes people experienced them experienced times in their life where they feel like they have no hope where they feel like they are in a place that is completely alone, where they feel like they are at the end of their rope. They’ve reached the end. They’re at a point of desperation, maybe desperate for someone to understand something that they’re going through.
Something that they’re feeling, whatever the case is like, marry someone like that may have that audible grief, that sorrow that is just overcoming and they’re weeping over the loss of goodness of truth of kindness, all those things that Jesus represented in the life of Mary. So look what, look what happens next in the text, reading on she’s weeping. And as she went,
she stooped down and looked into the tomb, looked this word. I have it up here to the Greek word is para coop toe para coop toe means not just to look, it’s not a passing glance. It is an intense look. It is a really looking closely at something. Remember she had already seen that the tomb was empty. She already knew that she had come and then she’d run off to tell Peter and John,
but now she’s stooping down and looking again into the tomb, desperately wanting to know what had come of Jesus’ body. And I want you in your mind to compare that to something else. I want you to compare that to a heart that is intently looking for something today, just like Mary’s heart was looking for Jesus, seeking him. There are people today who were seeking to find him too.
Maybe they don’t know they’re seeking to find him. They’re seeking to find something true, something good, something, right. There are souls that are in pain and in sorrow. And they’re looking for comfort and they’re standing at the tomb. They’re standing there. They’ve not walked away. They have hearts that want to know hearts that want to know the truth.
They are waiting to be filled. And they’re eager to find something to believe in. And what’s so wonderful about this is the Bible tells us that people who look sincerely and who look intently, will find what they’re looking for. They’re going to find what they’re looking for. We read this verse and I put a few of them up here. We won’t go to each one just for time sake.
But Jeremiah 29 13 are the words that God says to his people. He’s his real life people. When they were captives in Babylon, he said, and you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all of your heart. The same promise is found in first Chronicles, 28, verse nine and second Chronicles, 15 verse two. And in James four verse eight,
it’s worded like this draw near to God. And he will draw near to you. And also in Matthew chapter eight, those who seek will find him. Those are the hearts that are intently looking. The hearts that really, really are looking for Jesus, looking for the truth. So let’s keep going on in the text. So we’ve got weeping sorrow.
We’ve got looking and intent looking. And now we’ve got hearing, we’ve got a hearing as looks into the tomb. It says she sees two angels and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head of the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. And they said to her woman, why are you weeping? She said to them,
because they’ve taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid laid him. Why are you weeping? The angels asked for why are you weeping? She didn’t understand at that point, the fullness of what had happened, the joy of what it meant when Jesus rose from the dead. She didn’t quite get that yet. All she knew is that she did not know where Jesus’ body was.
She couldn’t, she couldn’t understand that this was the fulfillment of a great plan. Even though Jesus had tried to explain, this is what’s going to happen, but in their minds, they didn’t get it yet. And Mary didn’t get it yet. Just then she didn’t know that victory had been achieved. Victory. The dead had been defeated, but she didn’t know yet.
She was about to, she heard what the angels asked her and she answered. They’ve asked her, why are you weeping? And she says, I don’t know where that put my Lord. I don’t know where they’ve taken him. I think this is so funny to sit here and think about, I know she answers them. So matter of factly. So just,
this is why I’m crying. Forget the fact that two angels, just talk to her like two angels, or they’re asking her a question and that she’s sitting there conversing with them that she’s, you know, overwhelmed with grief. And all of these things are going on. Her mind was on Jesus. That’s what was on the mind of Mary at the time.
And so she answers quite matter of factly. I don’t know where Jesus is. And when she, when she had said this verse 14 says she turned around and saw Jesus standing there and didn’t know it was Jesus. Why doesn’t she recognize it? I know that’s a question that you’ve probably maybe talked about before in classes, or maybe had somebody ask you about why didn’t she recognize Jesus at the time.
And really there’s lots of different reasons. You can read, read lots of different commentaries that have different opinions on that. But y’all first of all, it’s early morning. Secondly, she was overcome with grief. If she was, if she was sobbing, she was very, very overtaken with sorrow. She was crying. She had just been confronted by angels.
She was not expecting to see Jesus. She didn’t expect that to be the person that she saw put to death the day, like three days before she wasn’t accepting it. But really it doesn’t matter. The Bible tells us, she thought it was the gardener. She just missed took him for someone else. And so she thinks it’s the gardener. But first Jesus asks her two questions.
Why are you weeping? And who are you seeking? Why are you weeping? Why are you crying? Who are you looking for? Jesus asks her those two questions. She’d heard what he said. And she answered his questions. She says, thinking him to be the gardener, sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you played him.
And I will take him away. I love this too. About Mary. I love the matter of fact, when she answered the angels and I love that. She says to Jesus, tell me where he is. I’ll go get him. And what was she going to do? Like, was she going to go and like, just show me where the body is,
go pick it up and bring it back. What was she wanting to do with that? But I think you see here in, in this, in this picture, just this beautiful affection. I, and I, I kind of in my mind called it affectionate desperation. Like, I’ll go get it. I don’t know how I’m going to, man.
I don’t know how I’m going to manage it, but I’m going to feel, just show me, I’ll take care of it. She says, I will go get him and bring it back. But then the next moment something happens, something happens that makes her fully turn. She’s already turned, but she’s not seeing Jesus something’s going to happen. That’s going to make her turn completely head on to where she can clearly see who’s speaking to her.
And that is, she heard Jesus called her name. She heard Jesus say Mary. She turned and saw him. I think that, that maybe in that moment, when she heard her name that he had spoken many times, I’m sure throughout his ministry from the very beginning, when she first has an encounter with him and he casts out the demons from her and then she follows him and then she supports him and she helps him.
And she’s through, oh, she’s with him throughout those three years of ministry. And she’s there at the very end. And she’s heard him say her name. And then all of a sudden they’re in the garden. He says Mary. And she knows. She knows that that’s juices hearing and turning hearing, and turning to necessary actions that have to take place in the heart of a lost,
but seeking person, someone who’s lost, but someone who’s looking and that was married. Let me make this parallel a little bit more plain for us in today. Today’s time. Today’s, what’s the word? Yes. Today’s it just an example for us to think of in this sense today, the truth about Jesus has to be heard through teaching and reading of the word in order to produce faith.
That’s Romans 10 verse 17 tells us faith comes by hearing a sorrowful heart touched by the willingness of God’s perfect son to be put to death for the sins of man will turn away from the darkness and toward the light that’s acts chapter three, verse 19. And the call that comes from Jesus today is not our individual names that we hear like Mary did. The call that we hear today is the call of the gospel.
The good news that Jesus died, but did not stay in the tomb that he rose, that Jesus was resurrected, that he died for our sins, that he was buried, but that he was raised again. And that he conquered death. First Thessalonians two verse 14 in first Corinthians 15 verses one through four. It’s a call that continues to come down to us today and will continue to come until the end of time.
And then we have Mary’s response in verse 13, she has turned and she says to him, Robin I Rabene, which is to say teacher and really the word and I is more accurate, accurately translated as my great teacher, my great teacher. It has more of a sense of a personal affection. It’s more than just rabbis, rather. I, and that’s what Mary calls out,
confessing the name of her Lord. There. She reaches out to embrace him. She must have, because Jesus’ next words are, do not clean to me. Do not cling to me. Some people have wondered. Why did Jesus say don’t clean to me? And there are several different things that he might have been talking about. But first maybe just,
I am really here. Don’t you, you don’t, you don’t have to reach out and touch me and feel me to make sure I am. I’m here in physical form. I’m I’m I’m back. I’m alive. Again, some people have said do not clean to me might mean that he’s got to go back. He’s not going to be here forever.
He’s back for a short time. And then he’s going to go back to his father. So don’t clean to me, but then he goes on and he continues to tell her something. And he gives her this very important message. And is the next step. She confesses his name. She calls out Robin I, and then she listens to what he has to tell her.
Jesus says, you’re not playing to me for, I have not yet ascended to my father, but go to my brethren and say to them, I’m ascending to my father and your father and to my God. And you were God, Jesus is interesting Mary, with a mission. He’s telling her to go and announce the greatest, good news to ever come to this earth.
He is telling Mary to go and tell his disciples that he is alive. He is not dead. He is going to ascend to the father, but not yet. And he sends her to go do that. And in verse 18, we see what Mary did. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had spoken these things to her.
This is perhaps one of the most amazing verses in this whole, in this whole text because Mary Wint, Mary listened to what Jesus asked her to do. She obeyed him. I’m sure there must have been part of her that didn’t want to leave him. I don’t want to leave. You don’t go away again. But she did exactly what he asked her to do.
She went, he said, go and tell. And she went and told she was the first person to announce that Jesus had been dead, but it’s alive. Again, up to this point, all they knew is that the tomb was empty. And what that meant at that point, they didn’t know Mary takes the message. Jesus is alive. The first one to tell people that Jesus was not dead,
that Jesus was had been resurrected, was a woman. And I’m going to just throw this in. And this is a whole nother lectureship for a whole nother day. But if you realize, if you know, when you recognize how much, how much God loves and values women, it wouldn’t be a lot of arguing about roles. Women used women time and time again in scripture.
It big and powerful ways. It’s not a question of work. That’s not a question of value. It’s not a question of ability. And if you know that, then, then you can talk all day long about, about the role of women and feel very, very confident and feel very good about where God is, where God stands on on using them.
So listening, obeying, and sharing the message. We’re all called to do that today by the gospel. If we know that Jesus Christ is alive still, if we know that he conquered death and that because of that, we have hope. Then we would want everybody to know. We would want to go and tell everyone. In fact, the call of the gospel really demands from us a response.
It demands that we do something. We have to turn to the one who gave everything for our salvation. We have to call out and identify him as Jesus Christ, our savior. We have to listen to what he’s telling us through his word, obey his instructions, and then share the message of the gospel of others. We see all of that in this encounter with Mary and Jesus,
the risen. So let me just bring it all together in this last little bit in John chapter 20 verses 11 through 18, it’s more than just a conversation between two friends. It’s more than just a personal interaction that Mary has with Jesus. It is that, but it’s more than that. When we look deeper at it, it is just a beautiful representation of what happens when somebody is looking when somebody is sorrowful and is looking for something true and something good.
And what happens when they hear the word of God? What happens when they hear it with an open heart and say, I don’t want to live any other way, except in the way that God wants for me to live. And I’m going to turn away from darkness. I’m going to turn away from the world. And in doing that facing Jesus, hearing him say,
I want you to be with me for eternity. And this is what I’ve done to get you there. And then you saying, Jesus Christ. I believe that you are the son of God. And I believe that you came to this earth and you died for my sins so that I might be in heaven with you. And then you obey what he has commanded for you to do.
And then a life after that is alive. faithful obedience. Is there really a most beautiful sound in the world? I think there is. I think there is the most beautiful sound in the world, and I think it comes out in this story. Mary heard it as her name. I think the most beautiful sound in the world is the call of the gospel.
The good news, the good news of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto salvation victory over death. The fact that Jesus is alive and he is alive again after conquering death. And because of that, we have hope Mary found truth in the sound of her name being called in that garden. But you and I found true today in the sound of the gospel as we read it and listen to it and obey it out of the words of the Bible.
Thank you very much.