Saturday, April 23, 2011

Love's Victory


Mary Magdalene meets the Risen Jesus in this brilliant illustration from The Saint John's Bible. (With this series the publishers have given booklovers a great gift.)
In chapter 20 of the Gospel According to John the first two characters who come to Easter faith are brought to faith because Jesus loves them. Mary Magdalene has a special relationship with Jesus, not romantic love, but that of a devoted disciple. At the beginning of the story of the raising of Lazarus I am struck by the Gospel writer's making the point that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary. I remember Mary's choosing to sit and listen to Jesus when, in Luke's Gospel, he comes to dinner in their home. In all four Gospels it is Mary Magdalene who first finds the tomb empty. The love between her and Jesus is so great that Jesus has only to speak her name and she recognizes him and believes.
One of the characters that Mary tells about the empty tomb is "the disciple whom Jesus loved." He is mentioned only a few times near the end of this Gospel. The love between him and Jesus is so profound that he doesn't have to see or hear Jesus to come to faith. He enters the empty tomb and "he saw and believed."
In this Gospel where almost everything has two or three meanings I'm sure that "the disciple whom Jesus loved" refers, also, to anyone today who is brought to faith by the all-embracing love of Jesus. With Jesus I am drawn into God who is nothing but extravagant, unspeakable Love.
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