“I Have Seen the Lord”

April 7, 2012

Today is Saturday, the day before Easter, and I’m wondering what Saturday was like for the women disciples of Jesus two thousand years ago who had just experienced the unthinkable.

Sunday's coming

Their Lord, this amazing teacher whom they believed was the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God, the Hope of Israel—this man who had healed them, taught them, forgiven them, accepted them, who had treated them as valuable members of his ministry, who had inspired their love and devotion—had been arrested, tried, and sentenced to the cross. Everything they understood about him, all the things they had hoped for because of him, now made no sense. He was gone. How could this have happened?

The Gospel of Luke simply tells us that these women “rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). I bet you can imagine how miserable that Saturday was for them.

The female disciples of Jesus had been deeply affected by the crucifixion of Jesus. Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Clopas, Salome, the mother of James and John, Mary the mother of Jesus and her sister were all there. The Gospel of Matthew tells that many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee were there with him in Jerusalem that fateful Friday (Matthew 26:55), and they followed him every step of the way:

On the way to Golgotha
A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. (Luke 23:27-28) 

At the Cross
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.…  Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,and Salome…. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. (Mark 15:27-41)

At the Burial
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:59-61)

These women stood by Jesus to the very end. They went home and grieved their overwhelming loss until Sunday morning. Then, a handful of them went to offer one last act of devotion to their beloved friend.

What they found at first alarmed them—an empty tomb and an angel. They left the tomb “trembling and bewildered” (Mark 16:8). Yet, their burgeoning hope was fulfilled when Jesus appeared to them with the deceptively simple, “Greetings!” (Matthew 28:9), which in Greek carried a connotation of “Rejoice!”

Rejoice they did, no doubt. Relief, delight, elation, renewed hope, light and life all came rushing back at once. 

The Gospel of John tells only of Mary Magdalene’s experience at the tomb. He says her first reaction at seeing the empty tomb was devastation. Not only had their killed her Lord, they had desecrated his body and robbed her of her last opportunity to lavish her adoration upon him. Then, Jesus appears to her, relieves her fears, and gives her an assignment. “Go to my brothers and tell them…” 

I bet she ran all the way back to town with her life changing news: “I have seen the Lord!”


Consider these questions as you reflect on Resurrection this weekend:

 – Can I stick with Jesus to the end, even when all the world hates him?

 – Can I keep serving Jesus, even when he doesn’t do what I thought he would do?

 – Am I convinced about the power of his resurrection and available to tell others?


“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatian 2:20

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