May18SunMay 18, 2014
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. John 20:14
Mary saw Jesus standing but did not recognize Him. The key verse in this passage is verse nine, “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Mary expected to find the body of Jesus still in the tomb. That’s where her faith was. She had faith to believe that somehow the stone would be removed to give her access to anoint His body but to find His body missing was totally unexpected.
What next? Find out where they have taken Him. She came seeking a dead Jesus in a borrowed tomb but the tomb was empty. According to Luke’s account (Luke 24:5) the Angels asked them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Heaven agrees with Heaven. Man’s failure to understand or believe the Scriptures cannot prevent its fulfillment. Earth has to agree with Heaven. They didn’t understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. The Word will come to pass whether we agree with it or not. Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word will remain. We today get the benefits of reading about their doubts and shortcomings as followers of Jesus during His earthly ministry. They are written for our example and admonition so that we don’t make the same errors they made.
When Jesus revealed Himself to Mary it wasn’t until He called her by name that she recognized Him. He called her “Woman” and she referred to Him as “the gardener”. He called her by her name, Mary and she responded “Rabboni”. When Jesus calls you by your name, He’s making it personal. The veil was taken away and she knew it was Jesus speaking to her. The title “Rabboni” meant more than just master or teacher. There were three forms of the word: Rab=Master (able to teach and make disciples); Rabbi=My Master (taught one generation of disciples who are capable of teaching other disciples); Rabboni=My Great Master (the greatest title which meant he had seen two generations of His – the twelve and the seventy).
It’s not the shortcomings we need to focus on but the pursuit of Jesus. Mary pursued Jesus and He revealed Himself to her. She looked for Him in a cave while it was yet dark. In life’s darkest moments, look for Jesus. When you don’t understand things, look for Jesus. Don’t allow shortcomings, doubts or failures to stand in the way. Keep pursuing Jesus. Mary immediately ran to tell the disciples when she saw the stone removed. After Peter and John saw the empty tomb they returned back to their own place but Mary stayed near the tomb. She wanted to know where they had laid Him. One last look and she saw the Angels. Then she saw Jesus.
Paul said it like this: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Phil 3:10-11