No one expected this. No one. Not even after he told them so. Not after Jesus did the impossible in raising Lazarus, and Talitha, and a young man from Nane from the dead. Not to mention the countless miracles. Not in a million years did they expect Jesus to come out of that tomb.
The resurrection is the firstborn of an untold number of unexpected moments, i.e children of wrath becoming children of God. And yet to this day, we still struggle to belief He can bring dead things to life. He can and he does, like marriages or people you never thought could change.
The resurrection is why we cling to hope, even when there seems to be no way. He is the way.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Believers often point to the empty tomb in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The empty tomb is not the biggest indicator of Jesus’ resurrection. That is why Mary was so upset rather than elated or overcome with joy when she saw the empty tomb. Too many possibilities for an empty tomb. Resurrection was probably last on the list.
What really convinced Mary that Jesus was alive? His voice- encouraging, penetrating, missionary, and relational.
It’s the same with us. What convicts and convinces us that Jesus is alive? It is His voice- personal, prophetic, powerful. He calls us by name and we are awakened to the reality and glory of a resurrected Savior
When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:4
We have the advantage over the disciples. We get to see the picture of the resurrection after centuries of the story being told. Verse 9 says, “For as yet they did not understand the Scriptures, that He must rise again from the dead.” If we go back to Luke 24:45…after Jesus was meeting with the disciples, post-resurrection…it says, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” As believers, we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Scriptures.
Imagine someone today who has no knowledge of Scripture at all…how strange it must sound to hear of a man who rose from the dead. Without the Scripture being explained through a relationship with Christ, how can they understand? They cannot understand apart from faith or the drawing of the Holy Spirit. It is a work only God can do. When you see someone who understands that Jesus rose from the dead, you can know that God is at work. Let’s join Him!
“They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.”
Three years ago, these disciples were workaday peasants in an occupied corner of the sprawling Roman Empire—law abiding citizens existing in a politically and spiritually totalitarian state with little-to-no civil rights, trying their best to live at peace with however much of God their religious teachers deemed they were fit to understand. But that was then. Now they were intimately connected to a capital criminal branded an enemy of the state, summarily executed. But it was worse than that. They loved him. This empty tomb meant, apparently, that the state, with the cynical support of religious leaders, was now sealing the disciples’ doom by its power to extinguish all dignity and hope. Suddenly, Jesus, dead no more, shifted their understanding of history with one word: “Mary.”
The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first. vs.4
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” vs. 15a
The women were the first to arrive. Surely they had questions. How were they to get to the body of Jesus? What state would he be in? It never occurred to the them that he might not be there, and their first reaction was that his body had been stolen. They ran back and called for the disciples to come. Peter and John set out and eventually broke into a dead run. Why? If the body was gone what good would it have done to get there quickly? What were they expecting to find? What was their urgency?
Scripture does not reveal to us what exactly was in their hearts and minds at those moments, but we do see them meet Jesus and they did not recognize his face. In their surprise, they never thought that he would be the one speaking with them. Which begs the question, for whom were they searching? If he is standing in front of you, speaking with you, why should it matter that he doesn’t show up as you would expect. He is here, now, calling you. Don’t let your expectations get in the way of the Savior.
In the weakness of the crucifixion we hear Jesus living out Scripture perfectly. In Matthew 27:46 Jesus quotes the famous line from Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and in John 19: 28 Jesus fulfills another line from the Psalms by announcing his thirst. Scripture flows from the mouth of Christ at the most devasting moments of His earthly existence.
My prayer is that we find a similar way. A way that is built upon the Word of God as our foundation so that when the wind and waves of life pummel us the Holy Spirit will bring forth a fortifying Scripture. May we fill our heart and mind with verses that we can cling to in the darkest days.
John is doing more than retelling a historical account, albeit the greatest story ever told. He’s casting our own reflection.
We see Pilate, passive but intrigued. We see the soldiers, indifferent to Jesus, but enjoying the mockery and the torture. The chief priests and Jewish officers, far from indifferent, they hated Jesus. And the crowd, they were the cheering section, disappointed because Jesus wasn’t the messiah they wanted him to be. We see the criminals by his side, one humble, the other a cynical skeptic. And then there are the four Mary’s and John; heart broken and in disbelief.
Do you see yourself in the reflection John casts. I do. Which one are you?
Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
With these instructions for John, Jesus begins a new paradigm for relationships and ministry within the community of faith- the responsibility of loving and caring for one another. The custom would have been for Jesus to place his mother in the care and provision of his brothers. Keep it in the family. Jesus has a new model for love and care- the family of God. We are meant to find encouragement, love, provision, and great care in our church family. Have you received this kind of kindness and concern from brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you show it to others in your Bible Study group? Circle of 6? Network of church friends?
As we live together in our community of faith, let us do (Body Life) loving and caring for each other in the Body of Christ.
“It is finished!” These words seem to close a very sad event, but it is a wide-reaching statement. God had a plan for the redemption of man from the beginning of time. The prophets foretold the work of Christ for centuries before it happened. Jesus’ assignment from the Father had been to live a sinless life and die for the sins of man on the cross. When Jesus said, “it is finished”, He meant allofit…He had completed everything that He was supposed to do! Even down to the sour wine at the end, Jesus was perfectly obedient.
When we walk in obedience, are we careful to walk in full obedience? Do we do everything God asks us to do or do we go for just a majority? Are we just concerned with tipping the scales toward obedience and calling it good? Jesus’ life was a life of obedience, growing out of a deep love. It was actually a celebration when He said “it is finished!” Will you be able to say that at the end?