Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). (John 20:11-16)
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She did not recognize him up to this point. She was overwhelmed with sorrow at his death. She didn’t even go into the tomb like Simon Peter and John had, she only looked in and saw the angels. Her sorrow was so great that she was missing God’s miraculous signs. She couldn’t see the miracle of the stone rolled away. She couldn’t see the miracle of the linens. She couldn’t see the miracle of the angels in the tomb. She couldn’t even see the miracle of Jesus standing right in front of her! When we are overwhelmed by despair because of the loss of a loved one, the pain of an illness, or the depths of depression it is the same for us. We are so overcome by our sadness that we cannot see Jesus. We cannot see the truth of His love because we cannot see beyond the pain.
In Jesus simply saying, “Mary,” we feel the depth of his compassion as he steps into the middle of her pain and calls her by name. In his divine mercy he reaches her right where she is at. He doesn’t get frustrated at her because she didn’t understand the signs she already witnessed. He doesn’t get upset she doesn’t recognize him and just walk away from her. He stops everything he is doing and tries to reach her again. He calls to her in compassion, “Mary”. Jesus has risen from the dead, he is preparing to ascend to the Father and he pauses to look her in the eyes and calls out to her by name. She finally sees him and cries out in recognition “Teacher!” He does not reach her in the same way he reaches Simon Peter and John. They only needed to step into the tomb and see the linens before they believed. Mary needed to be reached in a different way and he took the time to do that.
If you have yet to see God in the midst of your grief or depression, don’t give up. He is reaching for you. He is calling you by name. If you haven’t seen the signs yet that are already there, don’t despair. He is near and wants to help you and love you. Call out to him, ask for him over and over again like Mary did. Mathew 7:7-8 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Ask for his help and he will help you. Psalm 30:8 says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Do not give up, keep holding on, keep looking for him and you will find him.
After this revelation Jesus instructs Mary to go back and tell the others. If you have been brought through the depths of despair already, or if you have had a life changing experience with Jesus, go tell others about it. In doing this you will be the sign along the road for many others that cannot see Jesus beside them yet. You will be an instrument of his grace and love to them in their moment of need.