Jesus said to her, Woman, why weep you? whom seek you? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, Sir, if you have borne him hence, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sir, if thou have borne him hence . . .—The word rendered “Sir” is generally a mark of respect, but like the corresponding word in most languages, was also used to a stranger, and even to an inferior. The “gardener,” moreover, corresponded more to what we should call a “bailiff.” He would have been a servant of Joseph of Arimathæa, and as such may have become known to Mary at the time of embalming. She says, with emphasis, “If thou hast borne Him hence;” turning away from the angels to address him. The word rendered “borne” here means properly “to bear,” and then “bear away,” “remove,” and then “remove secretly.” (Comp. John 12:6.) Of this last meaning there are many undoubted examples in Josephus, and this seems clearly to be the thought here.
Tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away .—Three times she refers to the Lord simply by the pronoun “Him.” She has named Him in the previous verse, and perhaps thinks that the gardener had heard those words; but the impression formed from her eager words is that her own mind is so entirely filled with the one subject, that she supposes it to be in the minds of others. The same passionate eagerness is heard in the words which follow. Devotion such as hers does not weigh difficulties. A place of safety for that sacred body is the object of her will; and that will neither dreads danger nor sees that the task would be physically impossible, but asserts in the confidence of its own strength, “and I will take Him away.”
tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away—Wilt thou, dear fragile woman? But it is the language of sublime affection, that thinks itself fit for anything if once in possession of its Object. It is enough. Like Joseph, He can no longer restrain Himself (Ge 45:1).Mark 16:6 Luke 24:5,6; or (which is most probable) Mary was hard to believe what the angels had told her so lately; but coming out of the sepulchre, Christ appeareth to her, whom she knew not, but thought him to have been the person that had the charge of that garden where Christ was buried, and that he for his own convenience had removed the dead body; she therefore desires to know where he had disposed of it, having a mind to remove it to some honourable place of burial.
whom seekest thou? for she was not only weeping for the loss of him, but was inquiring after him, if anyone saw him removed from thence, and where he was carried:
she supposing him to be the gardener; that had the care of the garden, in which the sepulchre was; for not the owner of the garden, who was Joseph, but the keeper of it is meant; she could not imagine that Joseph should be there so early in the morning, but might reasonably think the gardener was:
saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away; she addresses him, though she took him to be but the gardener, in a very civil and courteous manner; which was rightly judged, especially since she had a favour to ask of him: she does not mention the name of her Lord, but imagined he knew who she meant, being so lately buried there; and suggests, that perhaps it might not have been so agreeable to the gardener to have his body lie there, and therefore had removed it; and would he but be so kind as to let her know where he was put, she, with the assistance of her friends close by, would take him away with them: so in a spiritual sense, a truly gracious soul is willing to do anything, and to be at any trouble, so that it may but enjoy Christ; it dearly loves him, as this good woman did; it early, and earnestly, and with its whole heart, seeks after him, as she did; and absence of him, or loss of his presence for a while, sharpens the desire after him, and makes his presence the more welcome.Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 20:15. λέγει … ζητεῖς; That she was searching for some one she had lost was obvious from her tears and demeanour. But not even the voice of Jesus sounds familiar. Ἐκείνη … ἀρῶ. She supposed Him to be the gardener (or garden-keeper) not because He had on the gardener’s clothes—for probably He wore merely the short drawers in which He had been crucified (see Hug and Lücke)—nor because He held the spade as represented in some pictures, but because no one else was likely to be there at that early hour and question her as to her reason for being there. Her answer shows that she thought it possible that it had been found inconvenient to have the body of Jesus in that tomb and that it had been removed to some other place of sepulture. In this case she will gladly relieve them of the encumbrance. It is none to her.15. the gardener] Because he was there at that early hour.
if thou have borne him hence] The omission of the name is very lifelike: she is so full of her loss that she assumes that others must know all about it. ‘Thou’ is emphatic; ‘Thou and not, as I fear, some enemy.’
I will take him away] In her loving devotion she does not measure her strength. Note that throughout it is ‘the Lord’ (John 20:2), ‘my Lord’ (John 20:13), ‘Him’ thrice (John 20:15), never ‘His body’ or ‘the corpse.’ His lifeless form is to her still Himself.John 20:15. Ὁ κηπουρὸς) The article indicates that the garden was a large one, such a one as could not be kept without a gardener.—Κυριε, Sir, Lord) Since she addresses with this title a gardener) dresser of herbs), she herself seems to have been in an humble position of life.—αὐτὸν, Him) She supposes that it must be evident at once to the gardener, who it is that she wants.—ἀρῶ, I will take Him away) out of the garden. She was ready to seek for a new sepulchre.Verse 15. - Jesus saith to her, in the words of the angels, Woman, why weepest thou? These are the first words of the risen Jesus, for Mark tells us, "He appeared first of all to Mary of Magdala." And Matthew's summation of the entire narrative makes it clear that she was at least one of the first group who saw the risen Lord. He recalls her to herself. He seeks to assuage the grief of desolation, the bitterness of despairing love. As his first great Beatitudes had been "Blessed are the poor in spirit," "Blessed are those who mourn and weep," and "Blessed are the meek," so the first words he uttered after he rose from the dead were intended to console human weeping over the most irremediable of human sorrows. They are the beginning of a fulfillment of the Divine promise "to wipe away tears from off all faces." But the Lord adds, Whom seekest thou? She has lost some one, not some thing. Questions these which he has been asking the souls of men and women ever since, when their grief and tears, their unconscious and unsatisfied yearnings after himself, have confused their perceptions and riven their hearts. She, supposing him to be the gardener, a friend, not a stranger, a disciple, not a Roman soldier or a hostile priest, perhaps some man who had been with Joseph of Arimathaea on the Friday evening, or even the senator himself, said to him, Lord, (Sir,) if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. This passionate burst reveals the blinding dominance of a fixed idea. She had no notion of the Resurrection. She was utterly overwhelmed with one bitter, cruel thought. The sacred body was to be embalmed with the precious spices which she had spent her all to buy. Others have forestalled her. Perhaps unsympathizing hands have been doing their worst. She does not know, in her terrified grief, if some wicked hands have not cast out his body into the Valley of Hinnom. She seems to imply that the κηπουρός has heard the words of the angels, and her previous reply to them. She is so filled with one thought, that the him, not it, explains itself. She is reckless of herself, and does not stay to count the cost. Had she not poured the precious ointment on his feet, in happier days, and washed them with her tears? Of whom can she speak but of him who said, "Thy sins, which are many, are forgiven;" "She loved much;" "Thy faith hath saved thee"? So far all is preparation for the great revelation. "The Lord has risen indeed;" but, unlike what poetry or theology might have pictured, or the mythopceic faculty have woven out of its strong persuasion of the Lord's indissoluble life, he has chosen first of all to present this signal manifestation of spiritual corporeity to a loving heart crushed with grief, to one groaning over irreparable wrong, without a spark of hope, that death was indeed vanquished. But she who received the objective presentation was too much preoccupied to feel her footing and her home in two worlds. It was not "an enthusiast (une hallucinee, Renan) who gave the world (un Dieu ressuscite) a resuscitated God," but a doubter, a despairing, broken-hearted sufferer, who did not know him when she saw him.
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