The sweetest sound I have ever heard is my Lord, saying my name. The very first time I heard it was while I was being tormented by seven demons. I had been living in that torturous state for many, many years. In fact it is hard for me even to remember what life was before the demons began their reign. I do remember somewhere deep in my soul praying to God for release from that prison.
Somehow my prayer reached God’s ears and he had mercy on me. I heard about Jesus and found out he was going to be in town. I struggled to make my way to him. Not only were the crowds thick with people all trying to get to Jesus, but my own body was fighting against me. Those demons made my legs weigh a ton one minute and the next as if they were liquid. I stumbled and fell all the way to his feet. I was exhausted and then couldn’t speak for the demons had taken over control of my voice. Anything I did utter came out in a garbled mess. Tears streamed down my face from sheer frustration and fear. Somewhere inside I knew if Jesus didn’t heal me, I’d never be free. I was so afraid that if I couldn’t explain to him what was wrong with me, he wouldn’t even look my way. How wrong I was!
As I lay there crumpled in a heap at his feet, he knelt and lifted my chin to look him in the eyes. And then he said my name, “Mary.” It was like coming into the sun after being in the dark for a long time. He sent the demons out of me and I was free! I was free to go wherever I wanted to go. Free to say whatever I wanted to say. Free to do whatever I wanted to do. But all I wanted to do was stay with him. To be as near to him as I could. To serve him and worship him and help him with whatever he needed. I was free to worship my Lord and I did, every day, for almost three years.
Then came that horrible day that all the forces of evil conspired together and killed my Lord. I was there when they beat him within an inch of his life. I was there when they forced him to carry his cross and then when he was too weak to do so. I was there where when they nailed him to that horrible tree.
I was there as he called to God to forgive those who had brought this terrible death on him. He asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing. But I knew! I knew he was the Savior. I knew that he had come to set the captives free, because he had set me free.
I sat with Mary his mother and John, his disciple, as he struggled for each breath, his body weakening every moment. I sat there as the sky grew dark. I stayed until the last bitter moment when he surrendered his spirit to God and breathed his last. Even after John had taken Mary away, I stayed. I couldn’t leave my Lord. Even when Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea came to take his body down, I couldn’t leave him. I followed them to the tomb that they laid him in. I saw the huge stone they rolled in front of the tomb. I saw the Roman guards and the seal of Pilate’s on the tomb. I would have stayed longer, but it was almost Sabbath.
The other women, who also had followed Jesus through his time on earth, met up with me early the day after the Sabbath. We were going to do one last thing to help him, by preparing his body with incense and myrrh. We were worried how we would be able to get the stone moved. We even discussed the possibility of falling on the mercy of the Roman Guards to move the stone for us. But we got there and it was already moved. We couldn’t figure out why someone would do that. It was so very early in the morning. I was horrified to think someone would actually come, desecrate his tomb and steal his body.
I took off running. I had to tell the disciples. Maybe one of them would know what to do, I thought.
Peter and John ran back to the tomb with me. John kept saying it was a miracle. Peter didn’t look like he knew what to think. They both left and then there was just me.
I guess I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. I looked back into the tomb, just hoping against hope that I’d been mistaken. But this time when I looked there were 2 men sitting where his body should have been, one at his head and one at his feet. They asked me “Woman, why are you crying?” I said, “Because they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where he is.” Then I turned to leave and this third man, the gardener I thought at the time, asked me the same questions. Why was I crying? I wanted to scream “I’m angry because the one who saved me, the one who loved me without limit or condition, the one who had set me free, was not only dead, but was now missing. The one thing that I knew I could do for him had been stolen from me! I wanted to say all those things and more, but then the sweetest sound ever to be uttered anywhere was spoken to me, “Mary.” The man, who I had thought was the gardener was really Jesus, my Lord. In that instant I knew who he was. I knew that everything he had ever said and done was true. I knew that he was my Savior.
And this time, when I ran to tell his disciples and Peter, I wanted to scream, “He’s alive! Jesus is alive! And I am truly, truly free!”
Many years ago, I wrote a series of monologues for an Easter morning service at Parkview Christian Church. The focus was from the perspective of people touched by Jesus while he was on earth. Above is the one I wrote about Mary Magdalene, the first person that Jesus spoke to when he had risen from the dead.