My Weeping is Over

Mary

I tell you, I’ve seen Him with my own eyes! I didn’t dream this whole thing up.

Here’s what happened.

Friday, just before the Sabbath, Joseph managed to get us the body before sundown. I think he spoke directly to Pilate. From what he told me, Pilate was glad to have Him off that cruel cross.

I had no idea what to do. I’d never buried a man before, but I knew we couldn’t leave Him out there. Thank the Lord for Joseph. He gave us his own tomb. It was a cave in the side of a hill not far from Golgotha, near the resting place of his ancestors. I remember how Jesus had called us all sisters and brothers, those of us who followed Him. I’m sorry, I’m babbling. Where was I?

Friday night we put Him in the tomb, but we didn’t have time to do it well. I wanted to adorn the horrid place so it looked like something other than just a hole in a rock. I wanted to wrap Him up. To be honest, I just wanted to see Him once more.

The sun was not up when I left the house. When I got to His grave, the predawn mist swirling about, I saw guards sitting beside the massive stone blocking the entrance to the tomb. The sight of it broke my heart afresh, and I began to weep again. I collapsed to the ground and buried my face in my apron.

It was then I felt the earth begin to shake. Another earthquake? As the earth stopped its rumble, I heard a commotion near the tomb. I looked up, and where the guards had been just moments before, there were two beings. Their brightness was greater than the brilliant sun which had just peeked over the eastern horizon. Not only that—the tomb was open. Someone had moved the boulder away from the mouth of the tomb.

I flashed back to last week when Jesus called Lazarus out of his burial cave. It took three men to move that stone, and it was much smaller than this one.

I ran to the mouth of the cave, tears still pouring down my face. The man on the right—an angel, I suppose—said to me:

“Woman, why do you weep?”

I could see the cave was empty. My mind was racing. Where were the guards? Had they moved the stone and taken the Lord with them? Where could they have gone? What was going on?

My sorrow now mixed with anger, fear, and confusion. I looked down at my hands; I still carried the fragrances I intended to use in the tomb. I held them up and somehow managed to speak.

“They took my Master,” I said, “and I don’t know where they put him.”

What was I going to do now?

I turned away from the tomb, head to the ground. Things kept getting worse. First they killed this wonderful man, and then they stole His body. Why? The tears just kept coming.

As I moved away from the tomb, I saw feet before me and heard a voice.

“Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” He said.

Why is this gardener talking to me? Can’t he see I just want to grieve? There was a hint of anger in my voice when I replied.

“Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

Even as I said it, I was replaying His voice in my mind. I knew that voice.

Then He said my name.

“Mary.”

At that instant, the moment I heard Him say my name, it all left—the sorrow, the anger, the fear, the confusion. It rolled away, like the stone before His tomb. And like the death that tried to take Him away, these no longer had a hold on me.

“Rabboni!”

I fell to my knees before Him and reached for His feet. I could see the nail holes in those beautiful feet. As I reached for Him, He said:

“Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”

I didn’t know what to say or do. I knew only this: He was alive!

I heard something behind me, and as I turned to see what was rustling, He vanished. Was I imagining it? Did I dream it? There is no way this was my imagination. The tomb was empty; and He had risen.

I headed back into town to tell the disciples. When I got there, the mood was the same as it had been for three days. Most of them were still in shock. I burst through the door and cried out to them, “He’s alive! He’s alive! He is alive!” Then I told them all about it. Before I finished telling my story, Peter and John were on their way.

It’s only been three days since the worst day I ever imagined. The glory of this new day—this first day—swallowed up all the horror and turned it into something beautiful, something wonderful. He is risen!

~~~

To read the original story, see Matthew 28:1-11, Mark 16:9-10,
and John 20:11-18.


The preceding is a chapter from my book Encounters with Jesus. You can pick your copy up at Amazon.com in paperback or for your Kindle. Forty stories that chronical the life of Jesus from the perspective of those he touched.

Blood in the Sheets

At first I thought it was my time of month.

Blood in my sheets.

I am so tired of blood in my sheets, but now I am too weak to even care.

My little one was only three then; now she is a young woman, and she is probably finding her own blood in the sheets. It’s strange to think of my daughter in that way, but to me it is always blood.

I have not been able to live with her in over a decade. She and my husband live in town, in our little home right down from the market. Oh how I miss the market!

I was selling my olives there when I first noticed the twinge of pain I now know is my hemorrhage. It was the first night of thousands strung together to make up who I am, who I have become.

I was Gilda the olive girl. I sold olives in the market. I was beautiful. People always remarked about the color of my eyes. They said my eyes matched my olives.

I can’t remember the last time anyone even looked at my eyes.

Now I am forgotten.

This blood—this hemorrhage—has robbed me. It’s as though a thief broke in and took everything.

Not my silver, and linen, and fine china, though those are all gone, too. We sold it all to raise money for the doctors. The doctors couldn’t do a thing. I went to doctors in six villages. I even went down to the hospital in Capernaum, but I returned much as I’d left, only bruised and penniless.

The thief I speak of did not walk away with my possessions; he stole my family, my dignity, my humanity, my identity. I was Gilda the olive girl. Now I am no one. I am invisible. I am a scar on the roadside, to be stepped around, avoided. Who am I? I don’t have an answer.

Not long ago, some lepers were talking about a man. This man, I overheard, was wandering all over the region of Galilee, doing things I’ve never heard of before except at the storyteller’s. Jesus, they call Him. He was opening the eyes of the blind, healing all manner of sickness, and even cleansing some lepers.

Oh that name! Jesus! The LORD is salvation. O how I need a Savior!

When I heard the stories, I felt something deep in my chest, something I had not known for ages. I felt hope. After twelve years of blood on the sheets, after a decade alone, an outcast, forgotten, I felt hope.

My first thought was to go to Him. I must have Him put His hands on me and command this blood to stop. But my own husband was unwilling to touch me. The last time he came and held my hand, they would not let him back in the congregation for a week.

The stories kept coming. He healed everyone in town, laid hands on the sick folk there. I even heard He forgave a man’s sins just a few days back.

Who is this Jesus?

I began to wonder if I could get to Him through the crowds that are always thronging Him. I wondered if I could get close enough to touch Him. I remembered a story from my childhood of the day they threw a dead soldier on the corpse of an old prophet, and the soldier came back to life.

If this Jesus is anything like the old Elisha, I bet just touching the hem of His cloak would be enough to stop my bleeding. As soon as this thought entered my mind, I felt warm all over, like the healing had already started, like the LORD Himself was telling me to do it.

I knew what I had to do. He was walking by, and the crowd, as always, spread around Him like a river flowing through the street. So I went for it. I wrapped my tattered robes around me, covering as much of myself as I could. I kept my eyes to the ground and edged my way into the mob.

I could not see Him yet, but I knew He was only a few paces ahead of me. I kept saying to myself the words I’d heard deep inside my soul: “Touch the hem of His cloak. Touch the hem of His cloak.” It was all I could think, all I could hear.

Then I heard a voice right in front of me.

“Master, where did Jairus say he lived? Do you think it is much farther?”

“Patience, Peter.”

That voice! The heat in my body doubled, and I knew it must be Him. I dove to the ground, my outstretched hand barely brushing the fringe of His robe.

Everything stopped. I could hear my heart pounding in my chest.

The Master stopped. The crowd stopped. My heart stopped.

To my horror, Jesus turned around and said:

“Who touched me?”

Peter laughed. “Who touched You? Everyone touched You. Maybe You should ask who didn’t touch You.”

“Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

I knew I was caught. I knew He was talking about me. I had broken the law. I had come into the crowd, making them all unclean like me. I had touched Him, and not only was I not allowed to touch anyone, but to touch this man who was not my husband . . . They could arrest me, or excommunicate me, or even stone me.

I was already on the ground, so I found my way to my knees, buried my face in my hands, and blurted out the whole thing.  I waited for His verdict. What would He do? What would He say?

Then there was that voice again.

“Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”

Then I understood. The heat I was feeling was right at the source of the bleeding.  As the heat faded, the trickling of blood I’d felt for twelve years was gone. I knew right then and there my nightmare was over.

That was yesterday.

Today I awoke on my cot, and there was no blood.

Today I will return to my home, my husband, my beautiful daughter.

Today I will return to my life, my identity.

When Jesus healed me, He didn’t just stop my bleeding. He restored everything the thief had taken.

What manner of man is this?

~~~
To read the original story, see Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43,
and Luke 8:40-56.


This is one of the forty stories from my book, Encounters with Jesus: Forty days in the life of Jesus through the eyes of those He touched. It’s a great way to rediscover the life of Jesus with stories spanning His life from conception to resurrection.

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