Daily Word

Grief to belief | John 20:11-16

11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb, weeping; so as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And 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 where they put Him.”

14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and yet she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Thinking that He was the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).  

John 20:11-16 (NASB)

Mary weeps

Mary had already been to the tomb, had returned to tell the disciples, then must have followed them back. She was standing outside the tomb when John and Peter went inside. After they left, she also looked into the tomb. She was crying because someone had stolen Jesus’ body. That only added to her grief. 

“Yet in the moment between [John and Peter’s] examination and Mary’s, something was different in the tomb.” (enduringword.com)

Grief to belief

In verses 11-14, Mary is expressing her sorrow and grief to the angels and to Jesus, who she thought was “the gardener”. Jesus speaks to her as He did to others in His ministry (like the lame man in John 5:6) by asking what she wanted: “Whom are you seeking?” She offers to carry away the body if she only knew where it was. “It is more likely that she was simply so filled with sorrow and devotion that she isn’t thinking through her plans carefully.” (enduringword.com)

The inflection point comes when Jesus calls her name, “Mary!” (verse 16). “Jesus can preach a perfect sermon in one word.” (Spurgeon) In shocked dis-belief that is rapidly becoming belief, she replies, “Rabbi” – which is probably the name she called Him and best reflected their relationship. Can you imagine what was racing through her mind?! Maybe, “My Rabbi is dead. They killed Him. I could do nothing to stop it.  I know He told us He had to die but I didn’t want to believe it. To make matters worse, someone has stolen His body but…here He is in front of me! How can this be!? I believe! I believe! Lord, I believe!


  • What a moment for Mary! Have you experienced a similar encounter with the Lord? Maybe it was as you read His Word. Maybe as you were communing with Him in prayer. Encourage others with a comment.
Mary sees Jesus, “the gardener”. Image from www.raydowning.com *

🤞 May I notify you of new posts?

They'll be sent out as soon as new POSTs are created, which has been daily (hence the name) for over 15 years.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content