One of the results from the fall was that our minds were corrupted. Sometimes our minds won’t allow us to take in what we are seeing. This was the case on Easter Sunday for Mary Magdalene. I’ve been thinking about her experience at the Garden Tomb. In the past I was so amazed that she was the one chosen to be the first to see Christ raised from the dead. This was not only an honor for her but a validation of women by God. Women were not even considered credible witnesses, yet God chose to reveal the risen Christ first to her eyes.
The corruption of her mind kept her from seeing Him. Mary’s mind had a lot to take in. When she arrived at the tomb with the other women. she found the stone rolled away and the body gone. The men came to witness this reality and concurred that it was true—Jesus was gone. Everyone left, but Mary seemed to have no place to go. Her mind was devastated by what she saw. She thought that someone had taken His body somewhere. She had been so tormented by her helplessness while the innocent One she loved was being mocked, scorned, murdered and tormented, she expected that His missing body was more of the same. She didn’t see it as John and Peter did that something Godlike was happening here.
I get that. I too know what it is like to expect the same old garbage that I have been getting. I too have been shocked when God intervenes and causes a change. I can be the glass is half-empty kind of person. It’s what happens next that confuses me about Mary. She is so overwrought by her grief that she cannot leave the place where His body is supposed to be. She looks again inside the tomb, and this time she sees something supernatural. She sees two angels sitting there, one at the head and one at the foot. Shouldn’t that have clued her in that God was up to something? After all, that’s what John and Peter decided after just looking in there with no angels and seeing the grave clothes half folded and half laying there empty. Seeing angels didn’t seem to faze Mary or awaken her from her mind stupor. Even when they spoke to her and asked her a question, she turned away to look for a gardener she thought had entered the scene. This was, of course, the first appearance of Jesus. Her mind wouldn’t let her leave the last thought she had—that someone had done something else cruel to her by hiding the body of her Lord. Jesus asked why she was crying and, rather than recognize Him as the one she was seeking, she asked Him if He knew anything about the body that should be there.
Finally, she gets it. Her stubborn mind is unlocked by the sound of her name spoken from the lips of her Lord. She grabs on to Him and continues to need some redirection for her mind. It is not her place to grab but to go and tell the disciples that she has seen Him.
I don’t want to be too hard on Mary’s hardheadedness because I too can be that slow to see the Lord. I do celebrate her tenacity; it was her relentless pursuit that kept her in the garden tomb to be the first witness. I do want to take from her experience the true need to distrust myself. I need to continue to remember that my mind has been corrupted by sin and that I need the Lord to redeem my mind to see spiritual realities for what they are. 1 Corinthians 2:9 explains it clearly: “However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived— the things God has prepared for those who love him” — this was certainly the case for Mary Magdalene.