The shortest sermon ever preached was in a graveyard.

Mary Magdalene had come to Jesus’s tomb and found it empty. She stood outside the tomb crying, convinced that someone had stolen Jesus’s body. Two angels spoke to her, but she was so overcome with grief that she didn’t seem to notice they were rather extraordinary messengers.

John 20:14 says that she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 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.”


Jesus Revealing Himself to Mary Magdalene by William Brassey Hole

Bear with me for a moment and put yourself in this scene.

Mary is in the presence of two angels, dressed in white, hanging out in the tomb (John actually says they were sitting on the place where Jesus’s body had been), and she was in the presence of the resurrected Jesus . . . but she was so sure of what she thought to be true that she didn’t even notice! She didn’t realize she was treading on holy ground.

What a message to us.

Then comes the shortest sermon ever preached.

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Something in his voice or the way he said her name–something opened her eyes and ears and heart. She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “teacher”) (John 20:16).With that one word from Jesus, sorrow turned to joy. Loss turned to gain. Everything Mary believed to be true turned upside down.

What a beautiful, touching scene. Not just for Mary, but for me, and for you. “I am the good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).

[Tweet “What was the shortest sermon ever preached? Find out on @suzannewfisher’s blog”]


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