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Mistaken identity?

Rosemary Dawson continues her Easter series: Cross questions

Mary knew immediately that she had found who she was looking for

HAVE you ever mistaken a stranger in a crowd for a friend? From a distance, they may well look like the person you know, but as you get nearer or hear them speak you realise your mistake.

At other times it’s possible to be in the company of someone you know and not realise it. Early on a Sunday morning, two days after Jesus’ death, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where his body had been laid, wrapped in linen cloths in accordance with tradition. It’s natural for us to grieve after the death of a close friend or family member; it was no different for the friends and followers of Jesus.

To Mary’s surprise, the large rock that sealed the tomb had been moved aside. Frightened and confused – thinking that the body had been stolen – she ran to tell Peter, who rushed to the tomb with another disciple.

The other man got there first. He looked but didn’t go in straightaway. Peter entered the tomb, and saw the empty linen grave clothes.

The two men went home, but Mary stood crying outside the tomb. She saw two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been. When they asked why she was crying, she answered: ‘They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!’ (John 20:13 Good News Bible).

Then she saw Jesus standing there but, perhaps blinded by tears, did not recognise him. Jesus asked her the key question: ‘Who is it that you are looking for?’ (20:15). Thinking he was the gardener, she requested that, if he had removed Jesus’ body, then he tell her where it was. But when Jesus spoke her name, she suddenly recognised him.

Mary knew immediately that she had found who she was looking for. Like many of us seeking after God, she had been looking in the wrong place. Jesus, the conqueror of death, was no longer confined to a tomb or an earthly body.

Mary had no more questions. No more doubt about his identity. Just the joy of finding her risen Lord.

Those still looking for spiritual guidance and help would do well to follow her example.

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