The New Testament corroborates Jesus’ resurrection narratives. The gospel writers — Mark, Matthew, Luke, John — gathered their material from a variety of reliable sources, oral and written, and penned their stories decades later.
Looking through my creative eye, more than twenty centuries later, here is what my imagination sees:
The light began dispelling the night darkness.
A lone figure silhouetted against the climbing sun.
The hurried walk from the nearby city left her breathless.
A tear slipped from her moist eye and burned a path as it tumbled down her chilled cheek.
A tear of sadness and joy.
He told them this would happen.
But could it be?
Could infinite life replace finite death?
How could she be sure?
The gravel shuffled noisily behind her.
She felt a small pebble ricochet off her ankle.
Fear permeated her whole being.
She twirled rapidly.
A man shrouded by the daybreak mist stood there.
He must be the gardener, arriving very early to commence his day’s labour.
She pointed to the empty tomb.
She inquired about the body of the one they called Lord.
The one she had followed, believing him to be the Messiah or Saviour.
The one she had witnessed dying on a wooden cross.
The one she prepared for a speedy burial.
The one she entombed by rolling a massive stone to cover the tomb’s entrance.
The one for whom she and others had come before dawn to give a proper burial, in unity with their custom.
The one she had told Peter about, hoping he could explain the empty tomb.
The one she now inquired about talking to the gardener.
She answered his question about her weeping.
She wanted to know where he had hidden the body.
She just wanted to find it, take it away, anywhere safe.
“Mary,” she heard him whisper.
She recognized his voice by the unique manner in which he spoke her name.
Almost like a shepherd calling his sheep, or a mother her child.
She looked up rapidly, locked her eye with his.
“Rabboni”, she blurted in her native language.
She could have called him Lord or Jesus or Master.
Rabboni, meaning teacher, seemed more apt, more meaningful, and more powerful for the moment.
She wanted to hug him.
She wanted to be assured it was him … alive.
He held up his hands, cautioned her not to touch him.
“Do not hold me,” he cried, as if he knew what she wanted to do.
He read her correctly.
She did not want her friend to leave her.
Holding him grounded there in that garden was her intent.
But, he had another assignment for her.
Now that she had seen him, she had to tell others.
Tell them he was alive for ever.
Tell them they could embrace that new life.
Tell them God was their father ,as well as his father.
Tell them sin and death were finally conquered.
Tell them of his promise, “I am with you always.”
She rubbed away her tears and looked up.
He was gone!
She felt his warm, wrapped-around, comforting presence.
An eerie silence welcomed the sun.
She began walking quickly, out of the garden, towards the city.
She stopped, turned back for one last look.
She realized she was the first person to whom the risen Christ had appeared.
Was it a coincidence or lucky accident?
She walked more purposefully now.
She had good news from Jesus to deliver … right now.
At the garden gate, she paused, glanced around to ensure she was alone, and then shouted in her most dramatic voice …
“I am woman … hear me roar!”