Spring is my favorite time of the year. Yet, here in the Southern Hemisphere a crisp change can be felt in the air alerting us that fall is here and soon the chill of winter. But for my friends in the North flowers are breaking forth and sweet smells of new life give hope of summer warmth. The Father had a glorious plan when He chose Spring to be the season of resurrection.
The story of Mary Magdalene encountering Jesus on resurrection morning paints a powerful picture of the transforming gift of glory given to us as Abba’s children. Mary, who was once held in bondage to 7 demons, was the one chosen to be the first among Jesus’ followers to celebrate Resurrection Day.
Reading through the resurrection account in John 20 I was struck by how Mary thought Jesus was the “gardener” who somehow took Jesus’ body away (vs. 15). And in a sense she was right. He is the ultimate Gardner who is restoring His children back to the perfect garden. Before the fall of Adam and Eve there was an ideal garden where relationships were whole and love flowed freely from the heart of the Father.
Sin rolled a cold hard stone over our hearts and brought in a spiritual winter and a satanic reign. Mary’s life demonstrates that the stronghold of satan can be shattered. Jesus drove out the demons that dominated Mary and instead filled her heart with heaven’s freeing love. Yet, all that seemed lost as she wept at an empty tomb. Mary of Magdalene would soon see the work of the cross; the heavy stone rolled away, and harden hearts separated by sin would be no more.
Both the angels and Jesus said “Dear woman why are you crying?” ( vs. 15). What a statement for us all to hear. Even though battles rage and it seems dark at times, the door has been opened to a renewed and restored garden in the heavenly realm. The Resurrection means the curse of sin in the first garden has been reversed. And when the Spirit of the Father raised Jesus from the dead all who believe have this resurrection power of the Gardner recreating new things in them for all eternity (Ephesians 1:20).
This past Sunday we sang a song that has a line in it, “You turn graves into gardens…” That is what happened on Resurrection Sunday, the eternal Gardner was raised from the dead and takes us out of the grave with Him and plants a new garden within our souls. I’m writing this blog at a coffee shop and over hearing a conversation of a group next to me filled with fear and could be summed up by one of the men who said, “it’s all going to hell!” I’m sure many have the same thoughts. But for us who believe the Gardner has been raised from the dead and He is making all things new planting heaven in our hearts, we have hope!
Mary wept as it seemed all was lost, but even though she couldn’t see Him yet, the Gardner turned the darkness of the grave into a spectacular garden. Right now it may seem that all is lost or perhaps very dark in your life. Be reminded by this story the Gardner is the Resurrected Christ, you may not recognize what He is doing at the moment but remember He is turning graves into gardens!