Palms Baptist Church Bible Study
Mary Magdalene at the Tomb: The “Apostle to the Apostles”
August 9, 2022
Main Scripture Reference(s)
John 20:1-18,

Mary Magdalene at the Tomb: The “Apostle to the Apostles”

August 9, 2022   /   John 20:1-18   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

A New and Better

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,

Day 1 of Creation Features- Genesis 1:3-5

  1. Begins the creation process
    1. John 1- God is starting a new creative process
  2. God allowed light
    1. John 1:4- God said, Let there be Jesus
  3. The Light was good
    1. John 1:4- Jesus is the Light
  4. God separated light from darkness
    1. John 1:5- Darkness has not overcome it
      1. God separated Christ from all others
      2. Christ overcame the darkness of the grave
  5. Called the light Day and Darkness night
    1. John 11- Jesus refers to Himself as the Day
  6. It brought disorder to order (evening to morning = bohu/tohu)
    1. Christ changed the order of darkness disorder

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

  • Interpreting circumstances/situations through a past reality
    • Mary sees the stone was removed and assumed Jesus’ body had been taken
      • It was more logical and probable, based off of the experience of life and the old reality of darkness, that evil men would kill a righteous man, and deny a righteous man proper honor then it would be for that righteous man to be glorified in resurrection

*Even though Mary had been in satan’s complete control (Luke 8:1-3) and had been rescued/healed/introduced to the new reality, the darkness still appeared more powerful to her

  • Same circumstance, different interpretations viewed from different realities
    • Peter and John saw linen…John Believed / Mary saw the missing stone and two angels and disbelieved
      • Mary let facts in the past determine her reality and emotion for the present
      • Jesus shows, the facts of your past IS NOT the reality of your present
    • Mary didn’t understand the truth and was afraid of it, but it was much better

*Mary’s source of pain, grief, anxiety, and sorrow came from the old reality, from the darkness. Her source of joy, love, and hope is from the new reality, the Light.

A Reality

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

  • Returning to past trauma/failures/times sin defeated us
    • Mary went back to the empty tomb believing it was a place of defeat
      • We too, go to the empty places in our lives where sin has destroyed hope

*Often, our faith does not give us an escape from the pain, anxiety, grief in which we live. Why?

    • A truth that should have caused rejoicing caused grief to her
      • Her grief and anxiety was needless
        • 5 times her crying/grief is mentioned or referenced
        • 3 times Mary states/asks where Jesus body is
        • Twice, angels and Jesus ask her why she is crying
  • Jesus did not validate her emotions, he corrected and changed them
    • Remember Mary and Martha at Lazarus’ tomb?
      • Ministry of Truth – Perspective
      • Ministry of Tears – Validation/Empathy
  • What healed her grief?
    • Jesus said to her, “Mary” (See John 10:27)

*What changed? She knew Jesus!

A Reality

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

  • Do Not…Go instead
    • Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended
    • Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending
    • She was being selfish…don’t hold me to yourself, but tell others!
      • Her faith was strongly rooted in a reality that for most history of the world did not exist. God had always existed, and He was USUALLY immaterial.

*Jesus is preparing His disciples for this new reality with a resurrected savior and intimacy of the Spirit

    • You hold tight because you want my hand in your hand, but let me go and I can put my spirit in your spirit…I can be closer, and in all! (See John 16:7)
  • Mary was the apostle to the apostles
    • Jesus appeared to many of His disciples, but with the exception of the women, He sent someone first
    • Jesus goes to Mary who then goes to disciples first, they don’t believe
    • Jesus goes to disciples who then go to Thomas, he doesn’t believe
    • Jesus goes to Thomas, and then blesses those who believe without seeing

* Despite being in her folly, Mary’s ultimate goal and intention was to honor Jesus. Lovingly, Jesus honored her back. He made her the “Apostle to the Apostles.”

A Good Reality

12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

15Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him

John 18:1-3

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.

John 19:41

41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid

Features of the Garden

  1. Eden in Hebrew means, “ A good place”
  2. The garden requires a gardener- Genesis 2:5
  3. Man was built for the garden- Genesis 2:8; Genesis 2:15
  4. The garden was the meeting place between God and man- Genesis 3:8
    1. Exodus 33:7-10- Tabernacle was the Tent of Meeting
    2. Numbers 7:89- Ark of Covenant in holy of holies
    3. John 18:1- Jesus met with God in the garden
  5. The garden possesses eternal life- Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22
  6. The garden possess the knowledge of good and evil- Genesis 2:9
    1. Man was commanded not to possess the knowledge of good and evil or it would lead to death- Genesis 2:17
    2. Man possesses this knowledge of good an evil- Genesis 3:22
  7. The garden should expand to the ends of the earth- Genesis 1:2
  8. Something unclean (serpent) seized what was holy (tree of knowledge)- Genesis 3

Features of the Tabernacle/Temple

  1. Meant to replicate the garden
  2. Temple requires a priest
  3. Temple was the meeting place between God and man
  4. Temple possessed the Minorah (depiction of Tree of life)
  5. Temple possessed the Ark of the covenant (depiction of tree of knowledge)
    1. Possessed the Law
    2. If you mishandled it you died
  6. Mercy seat sat on top of ark with two cherubim on each side of the seat
    1. Exodus 25:18-25
  7. Nothing unclean allowed in temple

Features of the Jesus’ garden

  1. Jesus “met with God” in the garden
    1. John 18:1-3
  2. Garden had the cross that gave eternal life
    1. John 19:41
  3. Garden had the empty tomb that confirmed good conquered evil
    1. John 19:41
    2. John 20:12
  4. Angels sat at the foot and head of where Christ was laid replicating the mercy seat
    1. Exodus 25:18-25
  5. Something unclean entered and handled what was holy
    1. John 18:1-3
    2. Revelation 21:22-27- Nothing unclean will enter

Questions for Guided Discussion

  1. Mary let the facts and experience of her past dictate the reality and emotions of her present. She took something that was exciting and incredible and concluded it to be horrible. How often does our old reality spoil the incredible blessings right in front of us? How do we become better at interpreting our circumstances and situations with the new reality in Jesus?
  2. Mary concluded that someone stole Jesus’ body and yet, she returned to the tomb. What are your empty tombs that represent failures or times sin has defeated you? How often do you return to those tombs?
  3. What tombs did you perceived as tragedy but became a tomb of victory for you? Romantic relationships? Being fired from a job? End of a career or season in life? A move to 29 Palms?
  4. Think about how many times you been anxious? How many times have you cried? How many of them can you remember why? How many of those worries came true? What elements of the new reality in Jesus alleviates that grief, worry, and anxiety? What assurances does the resurrection provide us in that reality?
  5. Jesus said Mary’s name and it altered the flow of her emotion and understanding of the situation. Jesus knew her, and she knew Him. Sometimes, however, our relationship does not seem to give us an escape from our worries, anxiety, and fear. What does that say about our current relationship with Christ?
  6. Mary wanted Jesus’ physical presence, but He promised something better. In John 16:7, Jesus says it’s to our benefit that He leaves. His heart in our heart, which is better than his hand in our hand. How much of your faith is anchored on conditions or expectations that Jesus never promised? Being healthy? Being rich? Strong emotional experiences?
  7. Despite being in her folly, Mary’s ultimate goal and intention was to honor Jesus and Jesus honored her by making her the “Apostle to the Apostles.” Despite our follies, our failures, our mistrust, and our sin, Jesus still chooses to honor those who intend fully to honor Him. Do you live a life fully intended to honor Jesus? If so, share how He has honored you?

Challenge for the week: John makes the theological point that Jesus has restored the reality of Eden through His death and resurrection. All has been made complete and restored. If we don’t feel complete or restored in Christ, then we do not fully understand the reality of Jesus’ new creation. Reflect on areas in your life that seem empty, incomplete, or needs restoring. Make a list of those voids. Then pray daily over that list. Find a fellow disciple in Christ that you trust to share those voids and pray for each other throughout the week.

 

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