John 20:1-18 (NLT)
20 Early on Sunday morning,[a] while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— 9 for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
Jenni Catron is Excecutive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. This appeared recently on her blog.
Loss is a debilitating feeling. Something as simple as losing your keys creates anxiety and unsettledness until they are found. The loss of a job triggers fears, insecurities, and doubts. The loss of someone dear creates a sense of desperation, a longing that is never fulfilled.
We’ve been in a series at Cross Point called Cover to Cover where we are looking at the entire story of the Bible and unpacking the themes that God has woven throughout it. We’ve also had a daily scripture reading plan and daily devotional where we can share our thoughts and learnings with one another.
Today we read John 20:1-18
In this passage, Mary and the disciples are reeling from their loss. Not only did they lose Jesus to death but they soon discover his body is now missing too. One more loss to compound their sadness.
But look closely at how they respond…
Simon Peter and the other disciple looked into the tomb, saw the strips of linen and Jesus’ burial cloth and accepted it as evidence that Jesus’ body was gone. Scripture tells us they went home.
But Mary, seeing the same evidence, stayed awhile longer. She stood outside the tomb crying. It seems that she couldn’t quite bring herself to leave. She grieved.
And then the story turned.
Mary didn’t recognize Jesus immediately. I wonder if He looked different. He wasn’t the crucified version that she lost. Mary was looking for a beaten and battered body. Jesus showed up differently than she expected and she didn’t recognize him at first.
When you experience loss do you leave or do you grieve? Do you look for Jesus or assume He’s gone?
Too many times in my life I’ve allowed loss to lead me to believe God has abandoned me. When a circumstance didn’t turn out the way I hoped or I lost someone or something valuable I assumed God was gone too. But time and time again I discover that He is there. He might look different or behave differently than I thought He would, but He is there.
So often in our lives we fixate on what we’ve lost rather than seeing what we’ve found.
God is there. He’s in your circumstance. He might look a little different than you expected. He might show up in a different way than you hoped, but He is there.
Is there a situation in your life where you feel God has abandoned you? Look closely. Made he is there just waiting for you to rediscover him.
Bonus Item: The Place of Children at Church
The YouTube channel that I oversee is named after our retail covering, Searchlight Books, but consists almost entirely of classic Christian music songs that you can’t buy at Searchlight or anywhere else. More recently however, we’ve included some sermon excerpts and this weekend we posted an eleven-minute excerpt from the Phil Vischer podcast where Wheaton College professor Scottie May spoke about visiting inter-generational churches during her sabbatical. This is a must listen-to segment for anyone who cares about church and especially for people in children’s ministry or youth ministry.
This is an audio-only clip with no moving images, so even if you are not on a high-speed connection and don’t normally click on video links, you should be find with this one. Click here to listen to Inter-generational Churches.