Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. . . .
— Mark 16:9
After Jesus resurrected, He remained on this earth for another 40 days before He went back to Heaven. Who do you think he appeared to first after His resurrection? You may think His disciples, but of all the people Jesus could have appeared to first after His resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. In that culture, the Jews considered the testimony of a woman of almost no regard. In fact, some of the rabbis falsely taught that it was better for the words of the Law to be burned than to be delivered by a woman. Yet Jesus chose a woman to be the first one to know of His resurrection.
Women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. Mary had courage that many of the men did not have when Jesus was crucified. The disciples fled and only some watched from a distance during his crucifixion. She stood by Him through it all. In fact, the Bible tells us that after He was crucified, Mary "observed where He was laid" (Mark 15:47). She watched as they took His crucified body from the cross and wrapped it and placed it in a tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. And while the guards were deciding to post a soldier by that tomb, she spent an entire night there all alone, before the guards were there . . . even before the disciples arrived.
The issue here is not that a woman was first and not a man. Getting hung up on the gender issue would cause you to miss the entire point. The main point was her love was rewarded. God said, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). God rewards the person who diligently seeks after Him. Those who will take time in their day to seek the Lord will find Him and be rewarded. Those who will take time to read His Word will find Him and be rewarded. Those who will take time to wait upon Him will have His truths revealed to them.
Easter is not just a story of history. It is a story of reality. Historically, Jesus died and resurrected, but the reality of it reaches far beyond historical facts. Jesus opened up a new relationship for us through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. No longer must we go through a high priest to seek atonement for our sin, because Jesus became the final sacrifice for our sins. And He has given us free access to God the Father, to whom we can come in times of need.
Do you know God as your Father? Or does He seem like some distant force? If that is the case, I have good news for you: God is not some mere force or distant power somewhere in the universe. He is personal, He is caring, and He loves you. And that is why He sent His Son to die on the cross in our place.¬
The Bible says in Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If you desire a relationship with God, simply repent of your sin, believe in your heart, and confess Jesus as Lord. That will begin a relationship with Jesus, giving you a brand new spirit. The next step is to get involved in a local church and grow in your relationship with Him. If you need to talk with someone about giving your life to Christ, give me a call at our church office (870.247.3300) or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.