Jesus is the spiritual gardener of your life.
We conclude a month of inspiration taken from the lives of unheralded female heroes in the Bible with a scene on resurrection day. “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” (John 20:15–16, ESV)
At first reading, the scene of Mary Magdalene mistaking the risen Lord Jesus for the gardener is nearly comical. But, upon deeper thought, her “mistake” is actually a profoundly ironic truth. Jesus is the new gardener.
Mary Magdalene loved Jesus with all her heart because He had delivered her from demonic affliction. I imagine Mary had lived much of her life riddled with anxiety and depression. She had been constantly oppressed by the darkness until Jesus set her free. So she loved Him with an undying love.
Because of the Sabbath, Mary had not finished all the preparation of Jesus’ body, so, early on Sunday, she had brought spices in order to properly anoint the body according to Jewish custom. The empty tomb caused Mary great distress. The thought of Jesus’ body being stolen and desecrated was grievous. While she wept, Mary saw Jesus and supposed Him to be the gardener.
The world began as a garden. Adam was the gardener. Sin put Adam and Eve out of the garden. That was the Garden of Eden.
Mary meets the second Adam in another garden – the garden of Easter.
Notice the rich ironies. The Eden garden was a place of life that ushered in death; the Easter garden was a place of death that ushered in life.
In the Eden garden, man fell; in the Easter garden, man arose.
In the Eden garden, the woman was born without sin and became a sinner. In the Easter garden, the woman who was born a sinner meets the One with resurrected power to remove sin.
Jesus is the new gardener who took up where Adam failed. We were all born in the first gardener, Adam. When you accept Christ, you are in the second Adam – the new gardener. He pulls the weeds, waters and watches over your life.
Mary “supposed” Jesus to be the gardener and, it turns out, she was right. And that’s the Gospel!