Mary at the Sepulcher: Genuine Affection

John 20  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In John 20 we have a scriptural illustration of affection for Christ; Mary Magdalene came early when it was yet dark to the sepulcher; she did not wait for sunrise, but while nature was still shrouded in darkness, her affection hastens her to the only spot on earth that had any interest for her—the grave of her Lord. Oh, what a character this stamps upon the earth; it was the grave of Jesus! Beloved reader, has it this character to you?
Now observe the Person of the blessed Lord was engaging the affections of the heart of Mary, and hence, how could she domicile where He was not?
Not so Peter and John; having satisfied themselves that the sepulcher was empty, having carefully examined the empty grave, and seen the garments of death left behind by the mighty Conqueror who had risen out of them, they return to their own home.
But look at Mary; she has no home; and in more senses than one did this devoted woman stand "without"; for not finding her Lord, she was truly without home, or cheer, or solace in her sorrow, a broken-hearted woman whom none could comfort; and yet it is a lovely sight, to see her in all her genuine personal love for Christ, standing, weeping, stooping down, and looking into His grave!
Ah! is not this rare—the spirit of it I mean—in these days? If I were asked what is the characteristic feature of the present time, what should I say? If I spoke the truth, I should say, HEARTLESSNESS AS TOUCHING CHRIST. Is it nothing to you, beloved reader, that Christ is rejected and cast out by man? Oh, is it not very little thought of, and lightly esteemed? The absence of affection accounts for the little loyalty there is to the Lord Jesus. How few hearts are really true to Him! It is not possible -to drill them into it; and mere knowledge cannot secure it. There is no lack of information as to Christ and His interests, yet it is a dry, cold thing, because it is not Christ. The question for the moment is, "What think ye of Christ?"
Another truth of exceeding beauty may be seen here; namely, how genuine affection gauges everything—measures everything. To Him whom she thought was the gardener, she says, "Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me were thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away." Observe, she does not say who it is, but "Him"—gauging everyone's thoughts by her own, and as she was full of Him in her thoughts, supposing everyone else was like herself. Alas, how little of this we find in ourselves or around us!
But observe too how her affection was the gauge of her ability "I will take Him away." If she had reasoned or calculated, she might well have hesitated ere she proposed such a task; but affection never calculates; its power or ability is itself.
And now the moment has arrived for Jesus to make Himself known. What a moment for Him—for her! He fulfills John 10, and "calleth His own sheep by name," and she answers to John 10, "The sheep hear His voice." He gives her to hear her name from His own very lips—Mary! What a scene it is! The history of the first garden, its blight and sin, all reversed. The history of the first garden, with a fallen man and woman driven out by the hand of God, is closed at the cross of Jesus; and here in this second garden we find a risen Man and a redeemed woman whose affection for His Person the blessed Lord appreciates at such worth that He commissions her to be the bearer, to His disciples, of the most wonderful tidings that human lips ever announced. "Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God." May the Lord awaken in the hearts of His people more hole hearted devotedness, at all cost, to His Person, honor, and interests!