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Jesus said to her, “Mary [Magdalene]…Go to my brothers and tell them…”
John 20:16,17
As I sit at the computer watching the sun set on what’s been a gorgeous Easter Day, wherever you are – whatever you’re doing – I pray that you know how much it means that you’ve stuck with His Own Heart through our Logistics of Lent. I also pray that as we wrap up the series in this week’s post, you’ve developed a new or deeper appreciation for the plan of salvation that the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – orchestrated from the beginning of time just for you.
Last week, we looked at that plan in light of the fact that Christ’s work on behalf of New Testament believers parallels God’s provision for meeting with Old Testament Israel through the tabernacle. This week’s post – as promised – will reveal some parallels we didn’t get to visit last week, but first I have a question for you.
Do you think Mary ran? At the end of her encounter with the risen Savior in John 20:11-18, I mean, when He told her to go and tell?
I first thought about it a few years ago when, during that first Easter as a seminary student, I scribbled a few random musings about the resurrection on paper. Caught amid assignment deadlines and tight class schedules, there was no time to ponder the idea – much less construct it into a formal blog post – but I thought Mary ran.
And I have to tell you: I still think Mary ran.
Oh definitely, she felt fear and confusion and wonder and a thousand other emotions when a risen Jesus called her name. But I also think the excitement of seeing the warm glow of the Messiah’s face alive outside a cold, empty tomb overshadowed those other emotions…even that pang of nausea that must’ve come when she saw the still-fresh wounds from the nails she’d seen the soldiers drive through His hands just three days earlier.
Yes, when Jesus told her to go and tell, I think Mary ran in order to do it.  
Easter Day – sometimes called Resurrection Sunday – often has been referenced as “the highest of the high days” for Christ-followers everywhere as all ages – from cradles to canes – celebrate our Savior’s resurrection; that same resurrection that makes eternal life possible for us.  I wonder if Mary ever knew the full impact of the news she carried, or that said news would revolutionize the entire future of the world? That she would know to the fullest extent seems unlikely, but it’s both amazing and a privilege to today compare Old Testament accounts to New and discover the many ways in which the sacrifice of The Passover Lamb parallels the crucifixion of Jesus.
So as you move through the coming week, I encourage you to spend some time noting some of the comparisons below. The Scripture references are hyperlinked for your convenience; dig deeply into their rich soil as you study them.
  • The purpose: The lamb that was slain at the beginning of OT Israel’s exodus from Egypt figuratively delivered the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 12:1-14). The sacrifice of Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God –  delivered the New Testament believer from his or her sins (Revelation 5:8-14).

 

  • The timing: OT Israel’s sacrificial lamb was slain on the eve of Passover during the afternoon of the 14th day of Nisan – which is the first month of the Jewish calendar year (Exodus 12:2; Exodus 12:6). Jesus, the Lamb of God, was likewise crucified on the 14th of Nisan, known as Day of Preparation for the Passover (John 19:13-14).

 

  • The criterion:The lamb for OT Israel’s Passover had to be spotless and without blemish, one year old, a male in the prime of his life (Exodus 12:5). Jesus was sinless and without blemish. In His 30s, He was considered to be in the prime of His life when He was sacrificed for us and was incarnated – took on His humanity, in other words – as a male (1 Peter 1:18-20, Matthew 1:25).                                                                                                                                       

 

  • Accountability: OT law required that every house – each family – have its own lamb (Exodus 12:3). Every single NT believer is responsible for opening his or her own heart to the sacrifice that Christ made through His death and resurrection; he or she must personally accept Christ as Lord and Savior of his or her life (Romans 3:9-19, Philippians 2:9-11).

 

  • A Four-Day Event: Each family was instructed to bring its lamb had to be brought into the house four days before the 14th – four days before Passover, in other words (Exodus 12:3, Exodus 12:6). Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – just four days before his death on the cross (Luke 19:28-40).

 

  • Condition of the Sacrifice: The people of OT Israel were, under no circumstances, allowed to break the bones of the lamb – not even during the cooking or eating of it. Furthermore, the sacrifice had to be consumed in its entirety on the eve of the Passover (Exodus 12:10-11, Exodus 12:46). Throughout His trial and death, not one of Christ’s bones was broken despite the torture, mockery and agonizing abuse He endured before nor during his trial and crucifixion; contrary to cultural norm, His body was removed from the cross on the same evening of his crucifixion (John 19:31-35). NT believers who wish to know Christ personally are also called to feast on or consume His Word every day. We also symbolically drink his blood and eat his flesh during the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:14-20).

 

  • Sacrificed…for whom? The first Passover lamb died to take the place of the first-born of the OT Israelites (Exodus 12:12-13). Jesus died, taking your place and mine on the cross in order to reconcile our eternal relationship to God (John 3:16).

 

  • Oh the Blood: The Israelites were to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on their doorposts as a sign to God. Any OT Israelite who complied was safe from God’s judgment against the Egyptians (Exodus 12:13). Any NT believer who by faith accepts salvation through Christ’s blood – with his or her name written in the Book of Life – is safe from judgment that the unsaved will face at His second coming (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

Now, as the resurrected Christ instructed Mary to go and tell the disciples she’d seen Him, I suspect she was far too overjoyed and awe-stricken to sort out these parallels between the time she left the tomb and tracked them down; but oh how I hope she felt an inkling of the powerful role she played in the Resurrection miracle.
Because she carried a wondrous message to the disciples then. And she brings it to us even now.
  • Mary delivered joy. After three days of sorrow, despair and questions, Christ’s followers would hear that, true to His Word, He was alive. To this day, Easter is a primary time for the gift of rejoicing as many church congregations open worship services with the traditional greeting/response of “Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!” We go on to offer joyful praise in song: “He arose, He arose. Alleluia, Christ arose!”

 

  • Mary delivered life. The fact that Christ indeed arose meant eternal life for Mary herself, James, John, every person who accepts by faith the mercy of His grace. Glory to Jesus’ Name, that even includes Simon Peter and me. Christ-followers traditionally symbolize this gift of life by adorning their places of worship with an abundance of flowers on Easter Sunday.

 

  • Mary delivered newness. Jesus arose as a “new” being with a glorified body and now sits upon Heaven’s throne, exalted and untouchable by death. Once we join Him in Eternity, we too will be graced with new and glorified bodies. In the meantime, we may choose to honor the tradition of newness by wearing new clothes on this Day of days. (Interestingly some sources say the traditional No-White-Shoes-Before­-Easter rule originated in response to respect for this tradition, so ladies, break that one next year at your own peril.) ?

 

  • Mary delivered hope. Easter brings hope to those who miss loved ones who’ve passed away or are terminally ill. The Resurrection brings assurance that we without a doubt will live with Jesus forever precisely because death has been conquered by Him. The original date of this entry’s publication falls on the first anniversary of my Grandmother’s death, so today this hope is for me the proverbial cold cup of water in a desert of grief. The flowers used to represent the aforementioned Easter tradition of life are often placed in churches in recognition of a loved one’s eternal existence.

 

  • Mary delivered victory. Jesus is delivered from the worst of the world and the worst of Satan – the power of death. Christ like a Mighty Warrior comes forth from the grave as Undisputed Victor. On Easter Sunday and every other day, Christ-followers do well not only to express joy and gratitude in this victory, but also to actively participate in said victory through an unwavering display of faith as we readily and victoriously “bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all.”

 

  • And, intentionally or not, she was the first person after His resurrection to, in a manner of speaking, proclaim Jesus Christ as the Tabernacle for the New Testament.

 

In the years following that same resurrection, the writer of Hebrews would beautifully, straightforwardly, formally make the proclamation that Jesus is the Tabernacle for NT believers:

Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience; concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:1-12).

That’s one powerful message, and somehow I don’t think Mary meandered leisurely away when Jesus sent her from the tomb. I don’t think she stopped off for coffee en route to the disciples’ door, either.
So yes, I think Mary ran with her news.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! The tomb…it was open…He met me there! Can’t you just hearher breathless shouts? How do you keep a meeting with the Master to yourself, after all?
I mean, shouldn’t we – whom He has also met – run breathlessly with that same news, too?
Because oh my soul…Christ IS risen, indeed!!!
 – Copyright 2018, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.