Never Again the Same
April 1, 2001
by Tricia McCary Rhodes
Mary Magdalene burst breathlessly upon the grieving disciples. Perhaps some raised their eyebrows while others did not budge from their empty despair. But nothing diminished the awe that Mary felt at what she had just experienced. While she had wept at the empty tomb, her beloved Rabbi spoke her name, and she knew that she would never again be the same. Joy flooded her soul, and resurrection hope set her feet to dancing through the streets of Jerusalem that day.
I cannot read the story without an overwhelming sense of awe. On an ordinary afternoon 30 years ago I too met the Master face-to-face. In my soul I heard His gentle voice calling my name, and I ran to Him. My experience with Jesus was spiritual but no less real than Mary's experience. Joy erupted within the depths of my being, and I have never recovered. Since then, I have learned that nothing can compare to beholding Christ's beauty and dwelling in His presence.(2)
The miracle of the resurrection is that while I fell hopelessly short of God's glory,(3) He now floods my darkened heart with "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."(4) And in the process I am transformed. Through the mystery of this transforming grace, the risen Lord Jesus offers nothing less than an encounter that shatters the structures of stale religiosity and breaks the bonds of duty-driven discipleship. It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul prayed for the eyes of our hearts to be opened so that we might know the hope of our calling.(5)
Two thousand years ago Mary ran through the streets of Jerusalem with this shout that conveyed resurrection hope to a weary world. Since then, Christ has revealed Himself to multitudes. Surely the streets of heaven are lined with those who in joyful adoration dance at His feet.
In His final hours Jesus prayed, "Father, I desire that they also may see My glory."(6) This is the magnificent hope of the resurrection, the joy of all joys—that though now we see Him in a mirror dimly, one day we will see Him face-to-face.(7) O death, where is your sting?(8)