I teach a Bible class here at the college called "Personal Encounters With Jesus." The class looks at a number of people who interacted with Jesus during His ministry years. Yesterday in class we were talking about Mary Magdalene, particularly her encounter with Jesus on Resurrection Sunday. You know the story - Mary goes to the tomb, finds it empty, encounters a man she assumes to be the gardener, and asks, "Where have you taken Him?" Then Jesus says her name: "Mary." She recognizes Him and begins to hold on to Him.
The question was asked in our discussion, "Why did Jesus choose Mary as the first person He appeared to after His resurrection?" Certainly there were others He could have chosen - the disciples, who He'd spent three years working with very closely; or maybe the Pharisees - He could have appeared to them and said, "Hey, told you so..." How about His mom? But He chose Mary. Why?
As I read about Mary's relationship with Jesus, it is clear that this relationship was very close. He had changed her life, and she was drawn to Him as a result. But, of course, the same could be said of others, including the disciples - particularly John, James, and Peter. What's interesting to me is how each of these is relating to Jesus at the end of His life. When we look at the disciples, they are still arguing about who will be the greatest in the Kingdom, too proud to wash each other's feet. Though their lives are being changed, the reality is that these guys still don't get it.
Now contrast this with Mary. She has only one goal - to pour out her love on Jesus. She's not too proud; in fact, just the opposite. There she is washing Jesus' feet with her tears and her perfume. All she cares about is showing her love for Jesus, and thanking Him for saving her and changing her life. What a contrast!
With these pictures in mind, it becomes clear to me why Jesus chose her to be the first to see Him in His resurrection glory: she was the only one that got it. She was the only one who understood what Jesus was all about. So He honored her by finding her first.
I pray on this Easter weekend that, like Mary, I would "get it." I pray that God would help me understand what Jesus is all about, and that, like Mary, I would have only one goal: showing my love for Jesus, and thanking Him for saving and changing me.