God Assures us Even in Our Doubts

“And returning from the tomb, they reported all of this to the Eleven and to all who were remaining.”

(Luke 24:9)

“Therefore she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb and I do not know where they put him.’”

(John 20:2)

And so, after seeing the risen Christ on the road, the women continue on to tell the disciples what has taken place…interestingly enough, John makes it clear that Mary made a point of telling both Peter and John…just as the Angel had told them to do.

Yet, again, we are sometimes confused at Mary’s announcement to the Disciples — “I do not know where they put him.” As we have discussed before, often the mind and heart can play tricks on you over a short period of time. Also, John is focusing very much on Mary Magdalene’s experience at the tomb rather than that of the larger group of women that were there. And clearly, Mary is struggling with this news and is still unsure of her senses — she needs more than just a brief meeting on the road, she needs things to be back the way they were prior to the Passion Week.

Can we not sympathize with Mary in this? Sometimes after surviving a traumatic event, we struggle to adjust to a new “sense of normal” that can be found on the other side. We long for the way it “used to be,” the way things were before the trying event. Yet, God uses these events to shape us into the men and women that he designs us to be. There is no going back for us — and there is no going back for Mary, either. As horrific as the events of the week before were for her to endure, Jesus had to endure them for our salvation. 

Mary just wasn’t ready for the transition, and perhaps this is why John makes so much of a point of including her personal story in his Gospel account of these events. Perhaps John is helping us to understand that God engages us with the Gospel where we are and patiently so — not that he leaves us in that place, but growth in faith is part of what it means to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Yet the first steps (and often times pulls, drags, and heaves), they belong to God himself. Mary needed one more face to face, and that is yet to come on this day of our Lord’s resurrection.

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