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Mary Weeping (Jn 20.11)

A Souter

Mary Magdalene was highly privileged. Hers was the distinction of being the first of the Lord’s followers to see the risen Saviour and to bear witness to His glorious resurrection. It is John who depicts the scene for us: "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping" (Jn 20.11). Mary had visited the tomb in the darkness and had found the stone taken away. She ran to tell Peter and John and they ran to the garden to see for themselves, but neither John’s believing nor Peter’s wondering was sufficient to keep them beside the empty tomb. Not so Mary: she stood, she wept. No wonder she was signally rewarded.

Three women in the Gospels are seen weeping. The widow of Nain wept on the way to the grave to bury her son (Lk 7.11-15). These were tears of grief, for her only son was gone and no human source of comfort remained. But when the Lord came He dried her tears and removed the cause of her sorrow. His tender compassion and His all-conquering power blend perfectly as He moves amongst His stricken people.

The "woman in the city" who came to the house of Simon the Pharisee wept in the presence of the Saviour and washed His feet with her tears (Lk 7.36-38). These were tears of gratitude. The Lord did not wipe her tears for it was pleasing to Him that these tears of grateful love should flow on. She rained tears upon His feet and anointed them with costly ointment.

Mary, however, shed tears of godly devotion. "Why weepest thou?", asked the angel. "Why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?", asked the Lord. The answer she gave was but added evidence of the love she had for her Lord and Master. In the days of His flesh the Lord was not unresponsive to the tears of these women. He met them in their need. He commended them for their love. He used them in His service.

The passing of the years has brought no change in His tender care for His own, inasmuch as no change can affect His character and person. Still today, He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb 4.15).



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