Summary: A sermon for Easter Sunday.
"The Resurrection and the Life"
Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb crying.
Mary had been one of Jesus' closest followers.
You see, Jesus had many more followers than just the 12 disciples.
There were a number of women who were part of His ministry as well--part of His inner circle.
And these women--their lives had been miraculously changed by Jesus.
In Luke Chapter 8 we are told that "Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God."
The disciples were with Him along with some women "who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases.
Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out" was with Jesus.
And it says that "these women were helping support [Jesus and His disciples] out of their own means."
And more than likely, Mary Magdalene was the same Mary whose brother, Lazarus had died, and whom Jesus had then raised from the dead.
She had a sister named Martha.
You probably remember the story of when Jesus was visiting Mary and Martha and Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to His message while Martha was getting everything ready for the meal.
Another time, Jesus was reclining at Mary and Martha's home--this was only six days before Jesus' Crucifixion--and Mary took "about a pint of...expensive perfume...poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair."
Mary Magdalene very well could have been Jesus' closest confidant, His most loyal disciple.
And on Easter Morning, she is the first person to visit Jesus' tomb.
And she was the one who ran and told Simon Peter and John that Jesus' body was missing.
After having checked it out for themselves, Peter and John returned to the place they were staying...
...the place where they were hiding...
...but not Mary...
..."Mary stood outside near the tomb crying."
You know, if the author's of the Gospels had wanted to tell some fibs in order to make their case for Jesus' Resurrection more believable to the readers they would not have told us that the first person to see the Resurrected Christ was a woman.
And the reason for this is that the witness or testimony of a woman was not considered credible in those days.
Women weren't even allowed to testify in court.
And there was a running theological debate as to whether or not women even had souls.
It was a man's world!!!
Women were property.
They were here to serve men and that's it.
It was even considered a "waste of time" by most to even engage a women in conversation.
They had no rights and were considered to be ignorant and unreliable.
But here we have it.
The single biggest and most important event to occur in the entire Christian religion...
...The one thing that our entire faith hangs on...
...the only reason we are here this morning...
...is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
And it is a women who saw and believed in the Risen Christ first!!!
She is the one who ran to tell the others.
It would have been so easy, to just substitute Peter's name for Mary.
It would have made it easier to swallow for the people of that day to read and believe.
This is how it happened, and so this is how it is written and preserved for us--no apologies; no lies.
We are told that when the rest of the disciples fled Mary was one of the few people who stood and watched Jesus' entire crucifixion.
She "stood near the cross."
And even though Jesus had told Mary and the rest of His disciples many times that He would have to be crucified and then He would rise from the dead, they didn't understand what He was talking about.
It's interesting that when the tomb is first found empty, neither Mary Magdalene nor any of the other disciples are believers in the Resurrected Christ.
What they thought is that "someone" had stolen Jesus' body and hid it somewhere.
And so, Mary, whose heart had already been shattered by Jesus' arrest and Crucifixion was even more blown away by the fact that someone had robbed His grave.
Talk about adding insult to injury!!!
Talk about a cruel joke!!!
Talk about getting salt poured into your wounds!!!
Talk about pain.
Talk about hurt!!!
Talk feeling hopeless!!!
Have you ever felt hopeless?
Have you ever felt so much pain that you could hardly stand it--so much that you didn't know if you could go on?
This entire world is in a lot of hurt isn't it?
We have the terror attacks; these events break our hearts and cause worry.
There is so much hatred and vitriol going on in the political arena and on the world stage--it really is staggering.