ROOTED - Tuesday, April 6, 2021

In John’s version of the resurrection story, Mary cries as she discovers Jesus’s body is gone.  Then when she sees him face to face, she assumes he is the gardener.  But what if this detail is not just a matter of Mary’s innocent mistake, but also a theological claim about the one who is raised from the dead?


John 20:11-18

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 

12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”  14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”  16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).  17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.



Jesus is indeed the Gardener … the one who made the Garden of Eden, the one who prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, the one who prunes the branches to make them bear more fruit, the one who fertilizes the barren fig tree, the one who spreads faith like mustard seeds, the one who scatters seed onto the soil, and the one who restores Eden in the final salvation of the world. Notice how the resurrection stands at the center of this entire story.  In Christ, God is the only one who can bring life from death and make all things new again.



O God, your blessed Son was laid in a grave in a garden: Bless us, we pray, that in our lives and in our deaths we may dwell with him in paradise, and come finally to your heavenly kingdom, for you turn graves into gardens for our salvation.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.