He waited for her.
He had stuff to do. Important stuff. But He waited in the garden, just for her.
The magnitude of this divine, calculated act of kindness takes my breath away. Jesus, on the heels of the most important few days in history, hung out in the garden for a woman. And not just any woman, a woman with a serious history of brokenness.
Mary Magdalene was a Jesus follower with a flawed past. The Bible tells us in Luke 8, that Mary was formerly a host to seven demons. Brokenness was her life, and the loneliness must have been excruciating. We don’t know all the details, but we do know the pivot point was Jesus.
He saw past the jagged edges. He looked right through the brokenness and saw a child He loved. And with what I’m sure was compassionate authority, He reached into her pain, and took her back.
Time with Jesus heals. Knowing Him changes everything. The past - regardless of its scars - holds no power.
On this day in the garden, Mary was beside herself with sorrow. Her friend, the Man Who healed her, the One Who really, really saw her, had just been murdered. And now His grave was empty! You and I know this is a good news story, but at the time, Mary was filled with panic at the thought of what could have happened to Him.
But He hadn’t been taken, had He. He was alive - He had conquered death - and there He was, in the garden, waiting for Mary.
Jesus, on this side of death, made time to wait for Mary. And then, with gentleness and probably a smile, He calls her by name.
Can you even imagine!? Her Saviour spoke her name!
I love to imagine how that greeting went. I love to picture her face when she realized what had happened - when she realized Who was waiting for her. Everything else must have disappeared for her as she looked her risen Saviour in the eyes.
It doesn’t end there though, does it? I love this part - Jesus, after waiting for Mary, makes her the first messenger of His resurrection. A woman with a sordid past was the one He wanted to deliver the Good News.
Please don’t ever wonder if your past is too messy for Him. It’s not.
And if like me, you’ve thought your story is too jagged or flawed to be useful to God - it’s not. And He loves to make messengers out of messes.
Easter is the ultimate pursuit, the most radical rescue mission of all time - rooted in profound love and determination to have us Home. It’s a love letter from the same Man Who waited for Mary that day. It’s His message of Hope, and it’s evidence that we are fully seen, completely known, and absolutely worth the wait.
May you know without question that you are loved and pursued, exactly as you are.