Summary: when I imagine the story of Mary, and how weeping Mary turned into surprised Mary turned into responsive Mary, I see the power, the potential, the possibilities that come from lives that are lived in relationship with the living Lord Jesus.
“I Have Seen Jesus: Have You?” – Series: Seeing Jesus
Apr 15, 2007 John 20:11-18
Christ is Risen! It is true, it is gloriously true – Christ is Risen! So, now what?
The greatest story, our most important story, has just last week reached its climax. Our Lord, crucified, but then resurrected. Killed, but then raised to life!! Death grabs Him, then death loses Him and is defeated. It is amazing, incredible, it is fantastic. But, now what?
Where do we go from here? What do we do once we have stood at the empty tomb, and recognized that Jesus is no longer there? As a church, as individuals, what comes next??
I really believe that the absolute worst thing that could happen next is this: nothing. We go back to the same old life, the same old sins, the same old self we were before we celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection. Even if you feel you are doing well in your relationship with God, to come through a season of Easter without being renewed, rekindled, re-energized, re-committed to pray and to worship and to seek God, is just about the worst thing possible.
What is the best thing that could happen? Seriously, I want you to think about that. And not in some simplistic, Sunday school type answers, but in terms of your life today. Jesus is risen – what is the best thing that could happen in your life and in the life of our church? We could be healed. We could be filled with an indescribably great joy. We could live lives that were full of power to do the right thing, lives full of power to reach out to people we love who are hurting and make a real difference, lives full of power to see people who do not know Jesus and who are currently dead be made new, their lives redeemed from sin and now full of the life that Jesus died so that they might have.
Could I have 10 minutes of your time? We’ll come back to that…
From Hearing To Seeing:
As we walked through Lent and towards Easter, we concentrated on listening. Trying to hear God’s heart, for us and for others. We listened to Scripture, we listened to the poor, we listened to the sounds of the cross on Good Friday. We wanted to hear God’s heart. We wanted to be transformed as we heard the longings of God’s heart for us and for our world.
It was, on purpose, focused on just one sense: the sense of hearing. Now that we’ve finished the season of Lent, now that we’ve stood once again at the cross and the empty tomb, we are entering a new season and a new series, called “Seeing Jesus”. We continue to listen, but now we are also going to look.
All it is going to take is 10 minutes. Will you give 10 minutes?
As we try to see Jesus, our resurrected King, we are going to tell the stories of Jesus’ appearances to His disciples after He rose from the dead. We are going to walk with those disciples, listening and looking, as we journey towards Pentecost Sunday on May 27.
The Story of Mary:
The first story is one of my favorites. It is early resurrection morning, and a group of women are walking to Jesus’ tomb with burial spices to embalm Jesus’ body. Along the way, the realize that they have a problem – the tomb is sealed with a huge stone rolled across the entrance, and they haven’t figured out how to get that stone rolled out of the way. They come around the corner and into sight of the tomb, and immediately notice that the stone has already been rolled away, and they run up and look in and see that Jesus’ body is gone, and so they run back to find Peter and John who take off running for the tomb, and they get there and John looks in and Peter runs right in, and Jesus is gone – no body – and John 20:8 says they “saw and believed”. And then, they go home. Interesting, but that is what it says.
One of the people from that group of women has returned, it is Mary Magdalene. Listen:
John 20:11-18 (NLT)
“Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 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. “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.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “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.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). “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.’” Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.”