Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Sweet Reveal

"Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon, Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him..." -John 20:1-3

"But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" Who are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be a gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned around and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).  Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"-and that he had said these things to her."-John 20:11-18

"Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it."
 -Mark 16:9-11

Out of the many women I've looked up to in the bible such as Esther, a woman who was as courageous as she was beautiful or Ruth, a woman who's loyalty was stronger than her grief...there's one woman in the bible that, for some reason, God has really put on my mind a lot. Typically, someone who was once demon possessed wouldn't be the first person on the list as a potential role model. What's so special about her? Why do I feel like I can relate to her so much on this day two thousand years later? Many people saw this woman as a crazy lady all of her life. Why was she the first one at the tomb? Did she truly feel in her heart that this couldn't be the end?

Mary was an outcast. She probably had only a few friends, if any. I'm pretty sure she was lonely and depressed a lot. She must have felt as if there was no hope for her and this evil that had taken over her life. She was out of control but longed to have control. Jesus cast out seven demons that possessed her. What a miracle. Jesus became Mary's best friend, probably her only friend at the time. I'm pretty sure she found it very hard to shut up about what He had done in her life. Heck, He's the reason she's alive and free! I can relate to that. She was free from torment and manipulation because of Christ. She did not only know of Christ, she knew Him. She loved Him so much that she was restless after His death. I can't imagine what went through her mind this day 2,000 years ago. All the hope she gained through Christ was probably shaken and questioned. Was she crazy to be at the tomb so early before dark thinking "Is this really it?"

A part of me thinks Mary had a similar feeling. Mary still had faith that this was not the end. She believed that there had to be some reason why she felt led to go to the tomb. Maybe it was due to curiosity...maybe it was due to her still longing to spend time with Jesus. Even though the disciples left after searching the tomb for Jesus, she still felt led to stay. She stood weeping with the thought that someone had taken her Jesus away. She then felt led to look back in the tomb. That's when Jesus revealed Himself to her once again. After His death she still had a sense of hope. He was alive! HE IS ALIVE! I can't help but wonder what I would have done in this situation. I probably, like her, would have been so wrapped up in the fear of having my Jesus taken from me that I wouldn't comprehend the fact that He was right in front of me. What comfort, joy, peace, relief, and hope she must have felt in that moment. She responds "Rabboni!" which means teacher. This is one of the sweetest moments ever in my opinion. Mary loved Jesus so much and cherished her relationship with Him. She truly mourned His death which made seeing that He had resurrected that much sweeter. Both the angels and Jesus said to her "Woman, why are you weeping?" kind of as a way of being like "Woman, rejoice! Open your eyes and see what is happening in front of you." When she sees....oh man does she get it. This is a woman who has been rejected all of her life and thrown to the curb. Jesus saw her and delivered her from the things she could not control in her life. Jesus was her Everything. Because of her faithfulness, she saw Jesus after He rose from the dead! What an encouragement. If I were in this same situation, I honestly feel like I would have had the temptation to keep Jesus all to myself. After all, everyone will think I'm crazy and won't believe me right? Why not just enjoy time with Jesus and not worry about telling the disciples or any others?  I'm pretty sure that's definitely something that Satan wanted to see happen. But Jesus said to her "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." and she did just that. She couldn't keep silent about the miracle she witnessed. Why would you want to stay silent after experiencing such a thing? This moment for her was so sweet and special. But when trying to tell people that Jesus has risen, she was seen as crazy yet again. I'm pretty sure she didn't care what people thought at this point. She had Jesus and the assurance that He is Alive! She wasn't afraid to boldly speak the truth of the things she had seen and experienced.

The awesome thing about this is that unlike movies and story books that have happy endings...this is not a happy ending but more of a happy beginning. Through this Mary is not being the one glorified, but it is all about Jesus. Mary was making Jesus the Big deal. What I am wrestling with concerning this is "Will I live my life as if I'm mourning the fact that Jesus was in the tomb?" or "Will I live my life in such a way that it reflects the same hope and joy that His resurrection brought to Mary?"  Will I reflect it so much that I won't care what anyone thinks or if people will believe me?  I have my Jesus and I know that He is alive. No one can take Him away from me. Though it's easy to want to keep Him all to myself, I know that what He has done in my life can be the same for others. A lot of times it's so easy for me to get so wrapped up and stressed in everything that's going on that Jesus is saying to me "Woman, why are you weeping?" when I should be rejoicing in the fact that He is alive within me. Oh the faith that Mary Magdalene must of had that day. It's a faith I am beginning to pray more for. The faith in knowing that my Jesus is capable of overcoming the grave. He did overcome the grave. My beautiful Jesus overcame death. If my Jesus is Bigger than death, than I know that my Jesus is Bigger than any struggle that I face. I have been delivered from a life of torment and manipulation. He became my friend at a time that I was friendless. God calls me daughter.Because of the cross, I'm adopted into the bloodline of Christ. He cast out the evil that was in my life and the things that I could not control. He saw me as someone who was precious when others saw me as an outcast, a rebel, and one who was crazy. He Reveals Himself to me which calls for the sweetest and most intimate moments that no other relationship can give or ever compare.

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all Fear is gone."