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Mary -- First at the Tomb

Mary Magdalene was no slacker. In her earliest appearances in the Bible, she identified her Lord and moved quickly to attain mastery over the limitation of physical sense and the seven devils that lay behind it. Much was quickly forgiven of her because she loved much from the beginning. From her brief meeting at Jesus' sepulcher, we can recognize the pattern that we all must follow in order to leave the wilderness of this world and enter into the spiritual apprehension of God's creation. Mary was an exemplary student, illustrating how spiritual receptivity and a resolute desire to know God speeds our progress. We all must lose trust in matter, break the seven seals that blind us to the truth, and confirm our inseparability from God.

  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher. (John 20:1)

Fueled by a divine impulsion, but still in the dark about spiritual substance, Mary was eager to love. For her, the door to Christ was open; the obstruction of Adam's race had rolled away from the place where death was about to lose its secret.

  Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. (John 20:2?8)

Mary first asked mortal man to explain the disappearance of Jesus' body but received no answer. Peter and John were eager to make a physical examination of the scene but were still holding firm to their convictions that matter was real and murder irreversible. They peered into the abyss and were baffled beyond belief that Jesus' corpse had been intentionally unwrapped and was missing.

  For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. (John 20:9?10)

Ignorant of prophecy and, therefore, blind to revelation, mortal men struggle to comfort, to console, and to excuse themselves. Since the mental home of Peter and John was still a dark empty sepulcher, they were unable to see the two angels heralding Jesus' resurrection.

  But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (John 20:11?12)

But in utter humility, Mary's suffering sense bowed to the divine requirement, which made her mind more flexible to divine revelation. She saw two angel witnesses where Jesus had lain, one at the foot and one at the head, which reminds us of the two angels on the mercy seat above the ark of the covenant, where the Word is alive yet unseen.

  And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. (John 20:13)

These two angel messengers bring news of fulfillment, but Mary needed Christ to translate it for her.

  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)

As she turned away from seeming tragedy, another invitation appeared to Mary that was within reach of her comprehension. Spiritual chemicalization had met its catalyst.

  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. (John 20:15)

Jesus was in millennial consciousness, moving rapidly beyond physical form and awaiting his ascension. Mary supposed him to be a gardener: this description is not coincidental, for they were both tilling the soil, separating tares from wheat. Although Mary was at the beginning of her harvest while Jesus was nearing the end of his, they met momentarily on the same plane.

  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. (John 20:16)

"He spake, and it was done" (Ps 33:9). The Christ message was delivered and received in the same holy instant, and Mary's belief in death was overturned. Jesus, Mary, and God were as One!

  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)

Jesus declared, 'Do not try to touch me as if I were physical any longer. Understand that man is spiritual. I am preparing the way for this understanding. My creator is your creator, for there is one Principle and one being. Tell all who can hear it that the good news is about to arrive!'

Mary beheld spiritualized man redeemed from death and from the falsehood that lay behind it. In these few passages, she illustrated the correct mental orientation required for quick translation back to Spirit. "The suppositional warfare between truth and error is only the mental conflict between the evidence of the spiritual senses and the testimony of the material senses, and this warfare between the Spirit and flesh will settle all questions through faith in and the understanding of divine Love" (SH 288:3).

As man ascends toward his ideal, he discovers himself.

George Denninger ©

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