The Woman Messenger: John 20:11-18

Focus Passage: John 20:11-18 (GNT)

11 Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb 12 and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 “Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her.

She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!”

14 Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher.”)

17 “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.”

18 So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.

Read John 20:11-18 in context and/or in other translations on!

In Jesus’ conversation with Mary Magdalene following His resurrection, we uncover an interesting statement and idea that would be challenging for those in that culture to grasp. Aside from some terrified guards who were present for the removal of the stone and Jesus emerging from tomb, the first person who actually talks with Jesus is Mary.

Jesus’ conversation with Mary concludes with Him telling her to, “go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” (v. 17b)

What would make this message challenging for those in the first century to grasp is that Jesus would send an important message through a woman, because women in that culture were not valued like they are today. A woman’s testimony was not equal to a man’s testimony in that culture, and Jesus sending a message to the disciples through Mary would not make sense. If the gospel writers wanted to make up a believable story, this would be a poor way to do it.

Jesus first appearing to a woman, and one with a very shady past, before sending this woman with the message to tell the rest of the disciples what they had discussed is all very counter cultural at the time.

But if this was actually what happened, even if many people wouldn’t believe it, it cannot change the historical truth.

But in Jesus’ message, we see something else that is fascinating. Jesus calls us His brothers, and God the Father as our Father, and God as our God. Through His death on the cross, Jesus has solidified our adoption into God’s family, and this is something worth celebrating.

The Bible tells us that a place is being prepared for us in heaven right now, and when the time is right, Jesus will return to bring us home with Him.

We are adopted into God’s family when we place our faith, hope, and trust in what Jesus has done for us. This makes our future eternal life a promise we can count on God fulfilling when Jesus returns for us!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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