"She supposed He was the gardener." —John 20:15
Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of Jesus' cross on Good Friday (Jn 19:25). "In the place where He had been crucified there was a garden," and in this garden Jesus was buried (Jn 19:41-42). Jesus had earlier prophesied that "unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24). This garden at Calvary contained the ground in which the dead body of Jesus was sown. Jesus' dead body was put down, but what rose was glorious (1 Cor 15:43-44). Jesus' risen body was mysteriously different than what was buried (1 Cor 15:37ff).
Mary Magdalene had followed Jesus for some time (see Lk 8:1-2), and she was still following Jesus even after His death. If anyone could be expected to recognize Jesus, it would be Mary. Nevertheless, Mary Magdalene couldn't recognize Him by sight. She thought He was the gardener (Jn 20:15). However, Mary eventually recognized Jesus because:
- she was seeking Him (Jer 29:13-14; Mt 7:7),
- she took the narrow gate through the cross of Calvary (Mt 7:13) to find Jesus, and
- she entered through the Gate of the crucified Jesus (Jn 10:9), and in so doing, found a garden (Jn 19:41).
In the end, Mary was right. Jesus is the Gardener (Jn 20:15). When we lay down our lives for Him and give Him our all (Lk 9:23), Jesus gives us His risen life. He pours out the Holy Spirit upon us (Rm 5:5) so that we grow and bear fruit. "Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Live the risen life and grow "in the garden of God" (Rv 2:7).
Prayer: Jesus, may I seek You as Mary Magdalene did.
Promise: "I have seen the Lord!" Jn 20:18
Praise: Alleluia! Praise the risen Jesus, Who calls us each by name!
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2017
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