Thursday, April 2, 2015

John 20:1-18, conclusion (I have seen the Lord!)

We've watched while John and Peter arrived at the tomb, and we've seen their reactions. Now let's look at what Mary Magdalene does . . .

When they left, she stayed on. That's when the angel asked her a very good question -- "Why are you crying?" Do you remember back in verse one, John said that the women came to the tomb while it was still dark? Many commentators point to the fact that it wasn't just a comment about the time of day, but John may have been making a point about the condition of their hearts, and of their minds. It was the deepest and darkest time that they had experienced in their lives. Mary was depressed.

Depression often comes when you have lost something that was of great value in your life. And the more valuable the person or the thing that is lost, the deeper you will go into the pit of depression. Well, I think we can see that Mary Magdalene had lost the Person that was more valuable to her than anyone else in the world.

When she lost Jesus, she lost the Person Who had released her from seven demons. She had been enslaved and controlled by them, and Jesus cast the demons out, and freed her.

When she lost Jesus, she lost her peace. We parents know what it's like to have several different little folks all tugging at us at the same time. They all want our attention, and sometimes will do almost anything to get it! Imagine having seven demons living inside your head -- they would constantly be steering you into directions you don't want to go, and making you do actions that you don't want to do. Jesus released her into His peace; it was a peace that she'd never known before.

Jesus had also released her from her sin, and forgiven her for all those actions that had allowed the demons to take control. He had given her someone to believe in, too. And He provided her with leadership. He had given meaning to her life; she was part of a group of women who supported His ministry and believed in what He was doing. She was simply lost without Him.

And she cried.

But then a miracle happened!

                    At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did
                   not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?
                   Who is it you are looking for?” 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 said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried
                   out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not h
                   old on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my
                   brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my
                   God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the
                   news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these
                   things to her.  (John 20:14-18)

Seeing the Lord . . . that's what Mary wanted more than anything else. She stayed at the foot of the cross (John 19:25) and she stayed after Joseph placed Him in the tomb (Matthew 27:61).  The only thing that pulled her away was the Sabbath, but as soon as her obligations were over, she wanted to be there again.
And she got her desire -- she said, "I have seen the Lord!"

We are each of us like one of these three witnesses to the empty tomb. All three of them had been told what had happened; Mary was told by the angels, and Peter and John were told by the women. All three of them saw the same empty tomb and the same evidence, but all three had different responses.

Many of us are like John. We see the empty tomb and we believe. Jesus says that we are blessed, and we should rejoice that Jesus is alive -- we will live with Him for all eternity.

Some folks are like Peter.  We see the empty tomb and don't know what to think. There is something going on, but we don't know what. There is only one way that we will ever understand fully -- we have to stick around. We can't just go to church once. Or pray once. Or get up before He speaks to us through His Word, when we study. Stay a long time at the foot of the cross, and see the miracle of a change in our lives.

Then some folks are like Mary. We see the empty tomb, and the change in people's lives, and we think there must be a practical, sensible explanation. Like the gardener must have moved the body of Jesus. But Mary hung around long enough to have her questions answered, and her faith grew, as a result.  Do we do that sometimes? Do we ask, what does it all mean to me?

Since Jesus is alive, He can be to us all of the things that Mary Magdalene thought she had lost -- release, forgiveness, purpose, and leadership from God. Have you seen your prayers answered? Have you seen the Lord?

If these studies have touched your heart and you feel that you would like to know more about a relationship with Him, please look on the right-hand side of the blog and click on "What is salvation" and also on "how to pray" and let us know about your decision, if you would like to. God bless.


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