Devotion 180 – Thursday of Easter 1

Opening Prayer

Living Savior, reveal Yourself to our hearts. Amen.

Text: John 20:11–18

But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Devotion

The Lord had rescued Mary Magdalene from the most wretched condition. By her sins she had ruined herself; He had saved her. From seven demons He had cleansed her. Now she was a new person and loved Him with living love. She also had the great honor of being the first to see Him after His resurrection. Yet she still is not a perfect saint. She clings too much to the Savior’s earthly side, yet certainly in a different way than the Apostles. Her mind hardly thought of seeing the Lord as King in order to rule with Him. But her love, which we must in no way consider physical, was still connected to our physical senses, and had come from seeing and feeling more than from faith. “Tell me where You have laid Him,” she says: “and I will take Him away.” And Jesus says to her: “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father.” She was supposed to have a different view of His holiness and greatness and heavenly majesty. She was supposed to learn to say: “We know Christ no longer according to the flesh” (2Co 5:16). Her love had to be purified, God’s Spirit had to unite it with a holy reverence for the exalted Son of God. But how gently He chastens her! “Mary!” In that word is a purely delightful invitation. And so He only has to say: “Do not cling to Me,” and her heart bows in reverence and fulfills His command.

If only there were such a zealous and such a pure mind among all converts as there is in her! There might be not only the kind of fleshly works among us for which Paul first and foremost rebuked the Corinthians: namely, envy, contentions, and divisions, but there are also hidden and dangerous lusts of many kinds. We are still familiar with them and know how they tear away one’s peace of mind if they are not seriously controlled. But we also know and testify that God’s Spirit helps the upright to victory. All the old leaven must be purged out, and by God’s grace it shall indeed happen. For Christ died and rose again for us, we are baptized into His death, we eat and drink His Body and Blood, and our life in Him is spiritual and heavenly. Nothing, no friendship with any kind of fleshly lust among you, believing brothers, but a pure virgin mind for our Bridegroom! Love Him from your whole heart with holy love, proclaim His death and resurrection everywhere, and love one another fervently from a pure heart! Then you shall have great peace.

Closing Prayer

Lord, chasten us, and cleanse us, and draw our mind to You in heaven. Amen.

Hymn

Stand up to meet Him,
Thy Savior, Bride of Christ;
Though death did greet Him,
From death He did arise!
He came to save us,
Our best and dearest Friend.
For death He gave us
New life that has no end.
For Easter gave us
Our Lord alive again.

With all my gladness!
I run to meet Thee, Lord.
Thy grace, not sadness,
Doth tears of joy afford.
A thousand greetings,
Relief from all my pain
Bought by the beatings
Thou suffered for my gain.
Death is retreating
And I have life again.

Our night has vanished
In grace’s glorious day,
For we have vanquished
Our foes, through Christ, our Stay.
Let no one wander
In darkness any more
Or thereby founder
Whate’er earth has in store,
For we in wonder
God’s heaven shall adore.

Brorson: Stat op at møde Din Løser, Jesu Brud L 363:1-3 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Paa Gud alene (LHy 350); alternate hymn: The day of resurrection ELH 356:3

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