Come with me to the place where it all happened. Imagine the dark before the dawn, the heavy footsteps and tear-filled eyes. Two days before, the Jesus whom Mary Magdalene loved had died. Betrayed by a disciple and put on an illegal and unjust trial, Jesus was sentenced to die on a cross at Calvary outside the walls of Jerusalem. He was abandoned by His followers and scorned by the soldiers. Jesus was no more, buried in a tomb. All of Mary’s hope was gone.
Mary had been saved by Jesus. He had cast out seven demons from her and restored her life (Luke 8:2). But that’s not all. This was Jesus, the promised Saviour of the world. The Son of God, whose birth was sung over by angels and witnessed by shepherds. The Miracle Healer who touched the leper and made the blind see. The Teacher who preached God’s kingdom with such authority that many repented of their sins and believed. The Son of Man, who said He is the only way to come to the Heavenly Father. Many rejected Him. Yet many loved and followed Him, including Mary.
Walking toward the tomb where Jesus lay, Mary was in for a surprise. A violent earthquake hit as an angel came down from heaven. He rolled back the stone of the tomb and sat on it saying, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee’” (Matt 28:2, 5–7).
Entrusted with this good news, her grief turning into great joy, Mary started running off to tell the other disciples when suddenly, Jesus appeared before her and called her by name. Little did Mary know that she would be the first person to see Jesus alive. Little did she know that she would be the first witness to testify that Jesus had risen from the dead. “I have seen the Lord!” Mary told the disciples, but they did not believe her (Mark 16:11). They only believed after seeing Jesus themselves (e.g., John 20:24–29), and then they gave their lives to share this news because Jesus had become their Living Hope.
These historical accounts have been recorded in Scripture so that we too may believe that Jesus is the Saviour, the Son of God, and that by believing, we may have life in His name (John 20:31). Although I have not witnessed these events with my own eyes and they may seem like foolish made-up stories in the eyes of the world, I do believe that Jesus lived, died, and rose again. He is my Living Hope, having triumphed over sin and death. And because I believe, I desire to share this good news with others who have yet to know it, especially those who live in communities where there are few Jesus-followers.
This Good Friday and Easter, may you be encouraged to reflect on Jesus’ life and death, know the power of His resurrection, and like Mary, who was filled with joy, share this good news of our Saviour with those around you: “Jesus has risen, just as He said!”