Today’s Reading: Matthew 27:62-66, 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-2, 11-18, 24-31
At the foot of the cross, we see Mary Magdalene with Jesus’ mother, his aunt, and Mary the wife of Clopas. To get a picture of how much Mary loved and cared for Jesus, who had changed her life drastically, we can fast forward to Sunday morning.
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” – John 20:1-2
We don’t know a lot about Mary and how she was treated in her community but we do know that women in general were not respected but considered possessions, having no rights of their own. If Mary had at one time been possessed by seven demons, I wonder how that affected her position among her family and community. Did others treat her as a new person who had been healed by Jesus (Luke 8:2) or was she marked by her past to be forever known as the one who had been possessed? How did she see herself?
This possibility makes her encounter with Jesus even more significant. If she ever struggled with feeling unloved and unimportant, I wonder if those feelings went away when Jesus chose her to be the first person He appeared to after His resurrection – even before returning to His Father. I can only imagine how this encounter with Jesus changed her life, just as our encounters with Christ are life-changing.
WHO ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying? The angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. – John 20:11-18
WHO AM I LOOKING FOR?
I find great significance in Jesus’ question to Mary and I ask myself the same thing – “Who am I looking for?” Am I looking for Jesus? Am I expecting Him to reveal Himself to me today? Am I expected to hear from Him, to encounter His presence in my life today?
Thomas struggled to believe – he is known as the one who doubted. Jesus appeared to Thomas, showing Him his wounds and calling him to believe. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” – John 20:26b-27
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR JESUS TODAY?
There are many who were raised in the church yet still struggle to believe in Jesus and His Sovereignty. Today, I ask them and I ask you the same question Jesus asked Mary and the question I challenge myself with today, “Who are you looking for?” Jesus is ready and willing to reveal Himself to us today but we will miss it if we do not expect it – if we live today as if Jesus will not personally reach out to us. Things will happen and we will call them coincidences. God’s blessings will pour out on our life and we will call ourselves “lucky”. Evidence of Jesus will be all around us and we will say, “I wish God would show Himself to me.” I don’t want to miss out on seeing God today.
We have been studying the gospels for several months now. Jesus’ call to Thomas to believe brings me back to one of the first verses I ever memorized and a verse we looked at towards the beginning of the book of John. It’s familiar to all of us and probably the most well-known verse in the Bible.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Who are you looking for today? Will you join me in walking into our day with confidence that Jesus will reveal Himself? Will you believe? And then, when we do experience Jesus today, let’s follow the same instructions He gave Mary and pass on the message to others – “I have seen the Lord!”