Wednesday, April 8, 2015
John 20:11-18, no more tears
Remember that we are looking this week at several opportunities that God provided to Mary Magdalene, to wipe away her tears and rejoice. I'm getting older and need reminding myself, sometimes. (Grin)
Ready? Let's dive in!
The first opportunity was when Mary saw the empty tomb. She stood crying, just outside that tomb, and was completely unaware that the empty space there held the key to healing and hope -- both for her, and for us!
The borrowed grave was empty, but not because someone took Jesus away. It was because He got up and walked right out! God had opened the door and freed Jesus from death. But because of her tears, Mary couldn't recognize the importance of the empty tomb. She couldn't yet receive the gift God was offering to her. Not yet.
Many people today are so focused on the pain they are experiencing in their lives, or perhaps on the sin in their lives, that they just can't see that God has placed opportunities in their pathway to remind them that He is ready to help. He stands ready to wipe away their tears. How many times do folks pass by churches, or reject invitations from church members, instead of coming to worship and receive God's help? They seem to think that the buildings are just empty, having nothing to do with the pain and sin and heartache in their lives. They can't see that the church is a place of refuge, and the members are a source of comfort.
Mary's second opportunity was the two angels. She stooped to look in, and saw two messengers of God. Let's pause a moment, here, shall we?
I mean no disrespect, but this must have been a shocker, no? First of all, she looks into the borrowed tomb and sees these heavenly beings . . . we don't know for certain what they looked like, but there must have been something about them that was extraordinary. Whether they had wings or not, or whether they were bathed in bright light or not, really doesn't matter. Something was different, because she accepted them as heavenly beings, and so did John, as he wrote.
Secondly, they spoke to her! Wow! What would you or I have thought about that? These extraordinary beings talked to her in language that she could understand. They asked her why she was weeping -- all she could say was that someone had taken Jesus' body away.
The two angels could have given her the answer to her question, and provided her with a reason to accept God's wiping her tears away . . . but she turned away from them.
Even today, God sends people into our lives to let us know that He cares. He may bring someone alongside you at church, someone who can keep you accountable, or who can comfort you with their wisdom. He may bring someone alongside you at work, and they may be someone who has experienced what you are going through and can offer compassion. He might give someone a prompt to call you, or to email you and see "how are things going?" We might not always see the connection, but God tries to get our attention through people who come into our lives. Some of us may have seen "angels" like that, or may have been "angels" to others who needed us. God provides these opportunities, because He wants to wipe away our tears.
We'll conclude our study of these verses tomorrow.