Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 8, 2012

Jesus Is Alive!

I can only imagine what Mary Magdalene experienced on that very first Easter. Hurrying to the tomb in the early morning darkness, she discovered that the stone was rolled away from the tomb. Desperately, she ran and found John and Peter. “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (John 20:2b). The two disciples ran together and saw for themselves what Mary had told them, then returned to their own homes. But Mary stayed outside the tomb, crying. As she turned from the tomb, a man standing there whom she supposed to be the gardener asked: “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15). Mary asked the man if He had carried away Jesus’ body, but then the man spoke again, “Mary!” Mary’s eyes were opened. She was looking straight into the face of the risen Christ! Mary immediately ran to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord. Jesus was alive!

Mary approached the tomb that morning with worry, fear, and great sadness. However, she left later that morning with much jubilation and joy. Why? Because she had seen the risen Lord.  Yet, although she had gone there seeking Him, she almost missed Him. I’ve wondered how she didn’t recognize that the man was Jesus. Had His appearance changed or did Jesus keep her from recognizing Him in some way? In some of Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection, He was immediately recognized by His followers. At other times, He was not recognized until later. For whatever reason, when Jesus called her name, Mary knew this man was Jesus. And I wonder. How many times, like Mary, do I fail to recognize Jesus in my life.

Sometimes I may miss Him because I’m looking in the wrong place. Mary was looking in the tomb when Jesus was already risen. Sometimes we think we know what Jesus is up to, what His will may be in a particular situation, when really we haven’t a clue. We try to apply human reason and understanding to God’s ways. Yet the prophet Isaiah’s reminder to the people of Israel can still speak to us today: “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

At other times I may miss Jesus because unlike Mary, I don’t stay nearby. Mary didn’t know where Jesus was, but she stayed near the tomb crying. Sometimes, we really don’t know where God is. We may be going through a situation we don’t understand or that we don’t know how to handle. However, instead of staying close to God and crying out to Him, we try to handle the situation ourselves. As James reminds us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8a). Then we will know His power, presence, and peace in the middle of our storm.

I may also miss Jesus when I fail to truly listen. Mary heard Jesus speak, but she didn’t recognize Him until He called her name. How many times do I read my Bible and fail to listen to what God is saying to me personally? The Bible is not just a book about God’s activity through the ages. It is His living Word through which He speaks to me, to lead and guide me today. I need to approach Scripture reading prayerfully, praying for God’s help in discerning His direction and will for me through His Word.

On that first Easter morning, Mary stayed near the tomb and listened when Jesus called her name. And she saw the Lord, the risen Christ. On this Easter, may we too, stay a little longer near the tomb, rejoice that it is empty, and celebrate that our Redeemer lives! Praise God, Jesus is alive!

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.”

(Job 19:25-26)

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