After He rose early Sunday morning, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene. Earlier that morning, when it was still dark, Mary went to the tomb and found the stone which had covered the entrance rolled away.
Distressed, she ran and told Simon Peter, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter and John ran back to the tomb. John stayed outside and looked in and saw the linen cloths lying there, but Peter ran inside. He saw the linen cloths too and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. John saw and believed–not that Jesus had risen but that His body was not there, for as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. He and Peter returned to their homes but Mary stayed.
She stood by the tomb weeping. She had gone with sweet spices so that she could anoint him. Where had they taken His body? She stooped and looked inside it and was startled when she saw two angels there. They asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She told them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” After she said this, she turned and saw Jesus standing but she didn’t know that it was Him.
Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
And she, thinking that He was the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Then the stranger called her name, “Mary!” Her heart leapt with joy as she recognized that voice and she turned around, crying, “Rabboni!” which means “Teacher”. The tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy.
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
Mary hurried off to tell the disciples that she had seen their Lord and gave them His message. Mark wrote in his Gospel that when she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. She brought good news to the disciples and all who followed Him so that they too would stop mourning and weeping and rejoice like she was. Unfortunately they didn’t believe her.
Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive. “It was she out of whom he had cast seven devils; much was forgiven her, and much was given her, and done for her, and she loved much; and this honour Christ did her, that she was the first that saw him after his resurrection. The closer we cleave to Christ, the sooner we may expect to see him, and the more to see of him” (Matthew Henry, Commentary on Mark 16).
Mary was not satisfied that her Lord was not there and she wanted answers. She didn’t leave like Peter and John. She stayed there. And she was rewarded for her trouble. She learned that His body was not taken away as she had feared but that He had risen. She saw proof that He was indeed alive.