[Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.Mark 16:9(NASB)
Christ died to take the punishment for our sins and to pay the price on our account - and the wages of sin is death. Christ died in our place. But the gospel does not end at the Cross, for Christ rose from the dead so that all who have faith in His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection will also rise from the dead into newness of life.
It is through faith in His redemptive work that we are given a new life, a deathless life, an eternal life, which begins the moment we are saved by grace through faith in Christ - and that life reaches into the eternal ages that are to come.
Christ rose from the dead for which we should be eternally thankful, for if He had not risen from the dead we could not rise from the dead either - but because He lives, we too can live.
Although Christ had taught many times that on the third day He would rise from the dead, His disciples seemed oblivious to this truth, for sadness filled their hearts and many grieving women prepared spices to embalm the dead body of their dead Messiah!
It appears that Mary Magdalene was one of the women who prepared spices to anoint Christ's body that first Resurrection morn. And drawing all the gospel narratives together, it appears that she lingered at the graveside, weeping... for she was heart-sick, grieving, and deeply distressed that His body was not there.
Mark gives additional insight into Mary and her deep love for the Lord, for it was Mary Magdalene from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. Some teach that Mary was a prostitute or the inmate of a female penitentiary. But though she was a sinner, as we all are, there is no biblical evidence of any specific sin or any particular lifestyle.
There are many blasphemous books that have been written and false teachings that have circulated, regarding Mary Magdalene's love for Jesus and His deep love for her. But as the Bible tells us... the one who has been saved from much is the one who loves much.
John gives a much fuller description of Mary's visit to the tomb on that 'first day of the week'. He records that she mistook Jesus for the gardener until He spoke one word of intense comfort to her - 'MARY!'
She knew His voice and out of a heart of unwavering faith and deep love, she replied 'Rabboni'. What a comfort and joy it would be to Mary to know that her Lord was alive. And so, in her happiness, she went to hold on to Him, but we are told she was denied the opportunity of clinging to her Lord, for He had not yet ascended to the Father.
The reason that Mary was unable to touch the Lord Jesus, is explained in Exodus and Numbers. On the feast of First-fruits, the High Priest had to wave the 'Wave Offering' before the Lord. The Wave Offering was a sheaf of the first-fruit of the harvest. Until that first-fruit sheaf had been waved before the Lord, in thanksgiving and praise, no one was to partake of the new corn.
Jesus was not only the High Priest of God but also that 'Wave Offering' which the Law required. And no-one could partake of the First-fruit offering until it had been 'waved before the Lord'. Jesus was the First-fruit of all who will one day rise from the dead into newness of life... and He had to present Himself to the Father in heaven before anyone else could partake of Him. No-one could touch the Lord Jesus Christ until He had presented Himself before His Father in heaven. And so we read Christ's astonishing words: "Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father."
After Christ had presented Himself to the Father and come back down to earth, He could be touched, and although the Scriptures do not mention it, I am sure Mary had another opportunity to cling to her Lord in happiness and joy. Mary was beautifully saved by grace through believing that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel and she was rewarded at the empty tomb early on that first day of the week, when He appeared to her first, lovingly addressing her by name, and giving her the highly honourable job of telling His disciples that He had risen from the dead!
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and the beautiful examples of faith and love in the life of Mary Magdalene and so many other disciples that trusted Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Thank You that You died to pay the price for my sin and rose from the dead so that I too may rise into life immortal. Increase my love for You. Help me to hold fast to the faith and may I never forget what Jesus has done for me - not only in this age but in the ages to come. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.