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The First to See the Risen Christ
By Pastor John

John 20:1-18
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Theme - Alive and Available
    Christ is Alive
    Christ is Available

Mark 16:9 - "And Mary saw Him first." Why Mary?
    Why not Peter? - remember his great statement of Jesus as Christ.
    Why not John - The disciple whom Jesus loved, to whom Jesus entrusted Him mother.
    Why not His mother - no one grieves for children more than a mother.

Why Mary?  Because she loved Jesus with all her heart.  Christ is available to those who love Him with all their heart.

She loved Him so much she had to be near Him.

She went to take spices to the body even though the tomb was sealed.  Not very logical.  But love is more important than logic.

1 Corinthians 13:2
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

She loved Him so much because He had saved her life.
   
She had been possessed by seven demons, afflicted to the very core of her being.  Her days had been nothing but a living hell. She had been crushed within.  Her character had been squeezed out of her.  She had prostituted herself on this world's alter, and Satan was her taskmaster.  Her soul was on fire when Jesus found her, a piece of human rubbish, and redeemed her, and lifted her up, and made her a woman after God's own heart.  Christ is available to change our lives.

She loved Him so much because she knew she needed Him.
She had made a mess of her life.  Jesus had cleaned her up and cleaned her out, and given her life eternal.  She knew she needed Him desperately.  Jesus had been crucified and was in the tomb, and those old demons that had been cast out of her were standing a short distance away, whispering to her to come back, come back to the fiery pits of hell.  And she knew that Jesus was her only answer.  Christ is available to those in need.

Here is a formula for intimacy with Christ. 
Mary was the first to arrive, vs. 1.
Mary was also the last to leave, vs. 10, 11.
Mary had a deeply burdened heart to see Jesus, vs. 11.
Christ is available to those who seek Him persistently.

The Lord is available to that kind of love, vs. 14-17.  Jesus Is Alive!
He is alive still and ready to draw close to hearts full of love for Him.


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