Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #110

#110 "Would You Even Notice If He Was Gone?"
August 28, 2007
"They asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying?' 'They have taken my Lord away,' she said, 'and I don't know where they have put him.' " (John 20: 13)  Passage Lookup: John 20: 10-18.
The Sabbath rest in Jerusalem is passed by in silence. The body of Christ lay amid the stillness of the tomb. Grief hung in the air...thick, like fog. The supreme test of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, that He would be raised to life, was at hand. (Mt. 16:21) 
Early in the morning, still being dark, she comes. There has been no sleep. The darkness and the coolness of the morning air fit her grief-stricken mood. She wasn't alone. It is well known that several other women came early to the tomb of Christ (John 20:2; "we"), but the apostle John chose to concentrate his narrative on Mary alone. And through tear filled eyes, so do I.
Aromata, (sweet spices) were in her hand. She would use perfumed oil to anoint His body. It would make her feel useful. She had to do something. Caring for the dead body of her Jesus was better than not having her Jesus at all. Her thoughts turn back to where she was before she met Him. He was the One who delivered her from seven demons. The number seven denotes completion. She had been totally demon-possessed. The days that followed were amazing as she walked with Him, served Him, and listened to Him speak. He had taught her so much. She had been forgiven and healed and she loved Him. Have you ever been forgiven or healed of something so much that it has caused you to love Him like you've never loved before? Mary doesn't know how to live without Him. Do you love Him like that? Or would you even notice if He was gone?  
His body is gone! She runs. She tells. They leave. Only Mary is left. Grief turns into agony. Her heart is racing, her chest is heaving with her crying and she's hoping for some clue to the whereabouts of Jesus. She is struggling with her double grief over His death and the disappearance of His body. How could they go home? She couldn't move from that spot. She had to find Him. She couldn't live without Him. Do you love Him like that? Or would you even notice if He was gone? Other people have left. Do you love Him enough to keep on looking? Are you longing for His presence? THEY seem to go about their days without a second thought for Him. But you...you have to have Him, you can't live without Him. Your heart yearns for His touch and His words and His love. Or...would you even notice if He was gone?
But there was another form looming up before her as she turned away into the garden. She was equally uninterested in him, but there might be a chance that this man was the gardener and might have removed the body. When you're looking for Jesus, no one and nothing else matters. I think that the tears in her eyes may have prevented her from recognizing that this Man was Jesus. What keeps you from recognizing Him when all hope seems to be gone? Is it your pride? Your discouragement? Your self-pity? Are your tears and your broken heart and your confusion clouding your vision of Christ standing right in front of you? This account shows us that He just may come in a way you least expect. 
Then He speaks your name....Jesus said to her, "Mary." The Good Shepherd calls His sheep by name (John 10:3) and "they know His voice." Immediately she recognized Him! Electrified at hearing her name spoken in the familiar voice of Jesus, she responds with the cry "Rabboni!", which means my Teacher. Originally the form meant "My Great One". It is not so unusual that Mary recognized the voice of Jesus when He spoke her name but not when He first questioned her. She knew Him intimately. Even the familiar can seem strange to us when we encounter it unexpectedly. You may suddenly recognize His voice in a phone call from a friend. How about in an encouraging letter or email? Maybe He's speaking in a message that you hear from a preacher. Is it in a song? Wipe those tears from your eyes and watch for Him. Listen for Him to say your name. It may not be like you expect, but watch and listen nonetheless.  
And when He speaks your name, there will be no mistaking that it is Him. You will turn and look into the eyes of the One who loves you like no one else ever could. Right in front of you will be the One who knows everything about you. The One who sees behind your mask and loves you anyway. The One who delivered you from all of your demons, calmed all of your fears and forgave all of your sins. The One who has set you free! The One that you can't live without!
I pray that you can't live without Christ. I pray that you could lose everything else in life, but not ever lose your devotion to Jesus. Love Him like that. Notice if He were gone. If you have been forgiven much, love much. I read this Bible account about Mary and I weep with her. I imagine her head spinning and her stomach churning. I imagine her saying over and over again, "I have to find Him!" There are days when it seems like He's gone away, but the Truth of His Word tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us. The truth is that He is always there even when it doesn't look like Him. We have to live with open eyes and listening ears. We have to live with sensitivity to the call of our name from the lips of the One who died for us. Turn around...see Him standing there. Let your eyes meet His and tell Him that you've been looking for Him! He will gently speak your name, assure you that He is there and everything will suddenly make sense. Everything will be all right!  You will rejoice, like Mary. And because you were the one who kept seeking, you will be able to tell all those who went away, "I have seen the Lord!" They didn't even notice that He was gone!
Donna Schultz
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