“There stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).
Researchers have found that stress hormones often cause im- paired memory in people who are under great distress. Chemicals called glucocorticoids, especially cortisol, affect the portion of the brain known as the hippocampus, an area responsible for storing and recalling memories. So, it’s very likely that Jesus’ disciples, including Mary Magdalene, would have had their memories impacted by rampant stress hormones at the time of His crucifixion.
Think about it: Mary had just watched helplessly as the One who meant everything to her had His life suddenly and cruelly ripped away. Then, before she could even show proper respect for His body, the Sabbath began. It was the darkest and longest Sabbath day she had ever experienced. Bewildered, all she could do was wait under the black cloud of grief until the day of rest ended, desperate to do something—anything— to honour her Lord’s broken body.
Early Sunday morning, before daybreak, Mary hurried to the tomb with the other women and discovered that Jesus’ body was no longer there. Even after angels spoke to them and explained that He had risen, there seemed to be confusion in Mary’s mind. She couldn’t seem to recall the Lord’s words about His resurrection.
As she lingered, distraught, at the place of burial, a Man spoke to her. He asked why she was crying. Thinking he was a gardener, she said, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away” (John 20:15). Then Jesus spoke her name, and Mary recognized Him and threw herself at His feet.
After a brief but glorious reunion, Mary ran to tell the others what had happened. Although she tried to convince His other disciples, they were suffering from memory impairment as well. They couldn’t immediately grasp the truth. But Mary did. She had spoken face to face with her Lord. Jesus was alive!
Precious Jesus, thank You for Your incomprehensible sacrifice and resurrection that ensure my future with You!
For Further Study: John 20:11–18; Luke 24:1–12; 1 Peter 1:3–5