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all other voices had failed

They [the angels] said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."  Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher)...   (John 20:13-16 ESV)


"Having given this answer to the angels, Mary turned herself backward and beheld Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. No explanation is added of the cause of this movement. It matters little. Our interest at this stage of the narrative belongs not to what Mary but to what Jesus did. On his part the encounter was surely not accidental but intended. He had witnessed her coming once and again, her weeping, her bending over the tomb, her answer to the angels, and had witnessed not only these outward acts, but also the inward conflict by which her soul was torn. 

"And he appears precisely at the point where his presence is required because all other voices for conveying to her the gladsome tidings have failed. He had been holding himself in readiness to become in his own person the preacher of the gospel of life and hope to Mary. There is great comfort for us in this thought that however dim our conscious faith and the sense of our salvation, on the Lord's side the fountain of grace is never closed, its connection with our souls never interrupted; provided there be the irrepressible demand for his presence, he cannot, he will not deny himself to us... 

"Among all the voices that hailed his triumph no voice appealed to him like this voice of weeping in the garden. The first appearance of the risen Lord was given to Mary for no other reason than that she needed him first and needed him most."

(Geerhardus Vos, Grace and Glory

The painting above is "Mary Magdalene and the Risen Christ", by Harold Copping.


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