The superiority of the Lord Jesus over angels and arch-angels is clearly proclaimed in the Word. The Bible says,
“In the past God spoke to our fore-fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father?’ Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’? And again, when God brings his first born into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.” In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.’ But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ He also says, ‘In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’ To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1: 1-14).
Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb. It was a second look. She must have looked into the tomb the first time that she got there and found that the stone had been rolled away. Now, desperate, weeping with longing, burning to see Him whom her heart loved, she looked into the tomb. Then she saw angels! She saw two angels.
Why did she not see the angels the first time that she looked in? Why did Peter and John not see the angels even though they went into the tomb? The answer lies in the ministry of angels. They are ministering spirits. They go on God’s errands. They are revealed to serve in very specific circumstances.
In the case at hand, the first time that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and looked in, she was not weeping. She wanted desperately to see her Lord but there was no sorrow and there were no tears. The open tomb must rather have excited her. Because she was not weeping, then these angels who were sent to ask, “Woman, why are you crying?” had nothing to offer then. Consequently, they did not reveal themselves to her then.
Peter and John were not weeping. It was therefore important that they should not see the angels. If they had seen the angels and the angels had asked the question that they had been commanded to ask, “Why are you crying?” it would have been absolutely ridiculous since they were not crying.
God will let us see what we have paid the price to see. He will let us hear what we have paid the price to hear. He will also let us receive what we have paid the price to receive and, ultimately, He will let us become what we have paid the price to become. Mary Magdalene paid the price to see the angels, and so they let her see them.
Do you see where your problems lie? God will not cause those who do not love the Lord Jesus to have experiences with the Lord Jesus that only His lovers should have because such experiences will not mean much to those who do not love Him. He will not allow those who love Him only a little to have experiences that can only be handled by those who love Him much because, as we have said earlier, they will know how to handle the experiences. He will also not allow those who love Him much to have experiences that can only be handled by those who love Him very much.
For Peter and John, the experience of seeing the empty tomb and the grave cloth were enough. They satisfied their need and so God let them have what satisfied their need. More would have been too much for them. So, God let them go away.
Mary Magdalene was not satisfied with the empty tomb, the linen and the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. She wanted Jesus.
MARY MAGDALENE SAW THE ANGELS AS MINISTERING SPIRITS
Mary Magdalene saw two angels!
Had some others seen the two angels, the reaction would have been different! They would have been very excited and perhaps run away to go and tell everyone, “I have seen two angels! I have seen two angels! I have seen two angels!” They might have told the angels, “Give us something or leave a mark on us so that when we will tell people that we saw you, they will believe us.” Others would have said, “Angels, bless us.” Others would have caught the angels so that they may have them permanently.
Mary Magdalene was different. In her heart, there was a place for only one person – the Lord Jesus. Her joy lay in only one person – the Lord Jesus. Her need could only be met by one person – the Lord Jesus. Because Jesus was her all, she was not excited or moved by angels. She recognized that they were heavenly beings and she knew that they were not her Lord. Consequently, she remained in tears and told the angels what her problem was.
What was Mary Magdalene’s problem? What was her need? Her need was Jesus. She told the angels, “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him”.
She was more or less saying to the angels, “Only one thing matters to me – finding my Lord. If you can help me to find Him, then you can offer that ministry to me. If you cannot help me to find him, then you have nothing to offer to me!!
Mary Magdalene discerned that they were not going to show her where Jesus was and so she turned round after she spoke to them.
The problem with many believers is that they are distracted by a thousand and one small matters. They come to God in prayer but they are carrying no central supreme burden. In their ministry they are given to a thousand and one issues. In their relationships, they are given to one hundred and one people. Because they are scattered, dispersed, divided at heart, they are of little consequence. They do not know the power that lies in “putting all their eggs in one basket”. They allow a second best to rob them of the very best. They allow the gifts to side-track them from the Giver. They allow service for the Lord to side-track them from the Lord, etc.
Mary Magdalene went in search of the one Person she wanted. She would not allow an empty tomb, strips of linen, the burial cloth and even angels to distract her.
Why did all those not move her? It is because in her heart there was no place for an empty tomb, strips of linen; the burial cloth and angels. In her heart there was a place for the Lord Jesus and only for Him, and so she sought only Him. She was single-hearted, and consequently she could not be distracted.
People are distracted outwardly by what distracts them inwardly. If a thing has no place in a man’s heart it will have no place in his life. It may even lack the power to tempt him. The Lord Jesus said,
“I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.” (John 14: 30).
The writer of the epistle of James says,
“But each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” (James 1:14)
Are you single-hearted in your love for the Lord? Are there second bests that need to be removed from your heart so that you may concentrate on the Lord Jesus and on His call for your life?
One hymn writer wrote:
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee
Another hymn writer wrote:
Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine!
Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine!
Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!
My prayer for you is that you will know the single-heartedness of Mary Magdalene and that that single-heartedness be towards the Lord Jesus. My prayer is that, you; absolutely and totally absorbed by Jesus, should find all other things and all other people having no power to attract and consequently having no power to distract you from concentrating on the Lord Jesus.