“Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. These she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
“Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen clothes, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their homes.” John 20:1-13
It’s all the rage these days on social media to do personality tests. I.E. “Which Disney Princess are you?” Or “Which Star Wars character?” “Which president might you have been?” Blah Blah Blah. You catch my drift.
Of these three people in John 20:1-13, who would you be?
Would you be Mary who came to the tomb early before sunup just so you could serve your Rabbi in His death?
Would you be impetuous Peter who did not stop at go but rush headlong into the tomb surpassing your running partner who paused at the doorway?
Or would you be John, the other disciple, who calls himself “Whom Jesus loved?”
See we know Jesus loved each of these people. John was just bold enough to announce it to his readers. There was no doubt in John’s mind that Jesus loved him and he wanted all of history to know this fact. Are you that person? Do you have that much confidence in your Savior’s love for you that you can proclaim to people, I am Kellye, whom Jesus loves?
At this point in our narration, the last time Peter had seen Jesus, he had denied Him 3 times.
“A certain servant girl, seeing Peter as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” But he denied him saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immdiately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him. “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:54-71
That was the last look Jesus had given Peter. Was that the reason he rushed headlong into that empty tomb? Did he enter first to gain back what was lost to him? Did he once again want to hear Jesus say to him, “Blessed are you Simon Son of Jonah…”?
Then there is Mary Magdelene.
“And also some women who had been healed of sicknesses and evil spirits: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out;” Luke 8:2
She came to serve and anoint the dead body of Jesus with aloes and spices and anointing oil. She came because of deep gratitude. Jesus had stopped all the warring voices in her head. He had given her peace, completeness, wholeness, and sanity. She could offer Him nothing, but she could serve Him in life and then in death.
Three separate people with three very different personalities. Jesus had entered each of their worlds and had met them on their own personal level, and each owed Him a debt of gratitude they could never repay. That’s why they went to the empty tomb, each from their different viewpoints, and each discovered a different aspect of the empty tomb.
John, from his vantage point, outside the tomb just standing in the doorway, only saw the linen clothes, the grave clothes. But when Peter went all the way in, he discovered the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. It was a personal message that Jesus left behind for them. In those days when a guest was finished with a meal, He folded his napkin and put it on the table, but if the guest only got up from the table and was to return to the meal, the guest placed the napkin in a heap beside the plate. Jesus left behind a folded napkin. He had completed His work.
And then there’s Mary. The two disciples had come, searched things out, saw what they came to see, then went home, but Mary stuck around.
“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 wher they have laid Him.”
Mary received a picture of the Mercy Seat.
“You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat.” Exodus 25:18
Mary at one point in her life had experienced the mercy of our Lord and now she got to see the seat where mercy began.
Three people with three different personal experiences with Jesus. Each saw the same empty tomb, but each walked away from that tomb with different view points. They saw what God revealed to them. These revelations were personal. They were seperate love messages from our Risen Lord. He spoke to their individual needs. To read them all together one may think these three were describing a whole seperate event. They were all part of the same glorious resurrection story. They just told their own perspectives of what they witnessed and together they paint a complete picture of Easter morning.
Same as us. Maybe you are a Peter, or you’re John, and maybe you’re Mary and your just gonna stick around for the credits. We humans are a unique breed carrying around unique personalities created by a loving Creator. He made us as different as oil and water, peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, you probably don’t want me to go on with this thought process so I will stop there, but you catch my meaning. Jesus comes to us personally and meets us in different ways. We all have different stories to tell, but we are all part of the same whole. We a members of the body of Christ, and together we complete His Story.