Have you ever had something keep you up all night? Maybe it was excitement about an upcoming trip, or anxiety about some pressing issue. Whatever it was, it was enough to make you long for morning.
When Christ was crucified, the event was devastating to all His followers. Because they never quite understood Him when He spoke of His resurrection, His death caused no small amount of anxiety amongst His disciples. This included Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome. At sunrise, following the Sabbath, they came to the sepulcher of Jesus to anoint Him. (Mark 16:1-2) Like the other disciples, they were overwhelmed by His loss and assumed He was gone forever. They were on a mission to do the only thing they could think to do and that was to give their Lord a proper burial and that included anointing the deceased’s body.
There are a number of places in Scripture where followers of God are rewarded for seeking the Lord early. Isaiah encourages us to “seek…they Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). Wisdom has a special affection for those who come to her door early: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me” (Proverbs 8:17). As I mentioned before, the idea of coming to the Lord early is not just a time of day. It is indicative of priority. It is best to seek the Lord’s counsel early in a matter rather than wait until after you have committed to a plan of action. When the Gibeonites came to Joshua in the Promised Land, they came to him disguised as people who had traveled a great distance to see him (Joshua 9:3-5). They pleaded for his protection. The glaring flaw in Joshua’s dealing with them is that, unlike his predecessor Moses who prayed immediately in nearly every decision moment, Joshua committed himself and Israel to the protection of the Gibeonites before it came out that they were lying about who they were (Joshua 9:14-15). Joshua did not seek the Lord early.
Now we have Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome coming early to the tomb of their beloved Savior. Instead of finding a body, they were met by an angel guarding a now empty tomb who advised them:
(6) And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
(7) But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
Again, “early the first day of the week, [Jesus] appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” What an honor! Of all His disciples, Mary Magdalene was first to lay eyes on the risen Savior. Getting up early to meet with the Lord takes effort, takes discipline, takes dedication, but what rewards there are when we seek Him early!