My Lord and My God

human standing beside crucifix statue on mountain

We all know the resurrection story well. And we believe, otherwise we would not be Christians. Sometimes it’s easy to take our faith for granted because many of us have been taught from a young age. We live in a country where Bibles are readily available and it even follows us on our phone. But the first disciples of Jesus had a different vantage point than we do. They were with Jesus and witnessed his many miracles, including bringing people back from the dead.

It shouldn’t be that surprising, then, that they had a difficult time believing that Jesus had died in such a vulnerable way. The One who was able to raise people from the dead was now. . . dead. When he appeared alive at the tomb to Mary, John, and Peter, they believed and announced it to the other disciples. Then Jesus appeared to the disciples and “he showed them his hands and his side” (John 20:20 ESV). For whatever reason, Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus showed up.

The other disciples told Thomas that they saw Jesus but Thomas said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into his side, I will never believe” (vs. 25). Jesus did not appear to Thomas until eight days later when he showed up to the whole group. He allowed Thomas to put his finger in his side and to look at his hands. Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” (vs. 28).

Jesus asked a rhetorical question, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vs. 29). We truly are blessed. And we truly do believe in Jesus’ resurrection!

Jesus Appears to Mary

brown and black rock formation

Mary Magdalene is one of the most important and influential women in the New Testament. She had seven demons, which presumably Jesus cast out. She was a wealthy woman (Luke 8:2-3) and joined other wealthy, influential Galilean women who provided for Jesus and his disciples. Mary Magdalene is mentioned fourteen times in the Bible and in eight of those, she is mentioned along with other women. Whenever she is mentioned with other women, her name appears first, signifying her importance.

Unlike most of the disciples, Mary was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died. When Peter and John ran to the tomb after hearing it was empty, they eventually went home, not understanding what Jesus said about being raised from the dead. It was Mary Magdalene, however, who stayed at the tomb alone. While she was standing there, Jesus appeared to her.

The angels asked Mary why she was weeping. She said, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they laid him” (John 20:13 ESV). Then Jesus appeared to her and also asked why she was weeping and who she was seeking. Not knowing it was Jesus, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away” (vs. 15). Jesus answered, “Mary.” Then she recognized him and clung to him.

Jesus told her not to cling to him because he had yet to ascend. Instead, Jesus told her to go to the disciples and tell them that “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (vs. 17). Mary effectively became the first person to proclaim the risen Christ. Jesus could have easily appeared to Peter and John but he didn’t. He waited until they went home to appear to Mary. He intentionally chose Mary to be the person to carry the message out that the Christ was risen from the dead! Mary–the one who was plagued with seven demons. Mary–a woman who was looked down on in Jesus’ day. Jesus’ resurrection is a story of hope and restoration, of salvation and equality.