Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:1-2
I listened to my son preach to his youth group from the passage in John 20 where Peter and Mary go to the tomb looking for Jesus. As he was speaking, I was reading the chapter in my Bible. I couldn’t help but identify with Mary and her lack of awareness.
I hope you read through this story in John recently, but if not let me bring you up to speed on what is happening in this passage of scripture.
John is the one giving the account. It was the first day of the week after the crucifixion of Jesus. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb looking for His body. She noticed the stone had been removed from the entrance, so she ran to find Simon Peter. I would imagine she was frantic. Her news makes Simon Peter and the other disciple who was with him frantic, so they run towards the tomb.
They all arrive at the tomb and find what Mary had already known, that Jesus was not there. The disciples leave, and Mary is there with the angels. The angels ask why she is crying. When Mary answers, she turns and is face to face with Jesus, but she fails to realize that fact.
So Jesus says to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”(John 20:15) Part of me wonders if Jesus has a sense of humor with his question. Was he at all feeling like saying, “Hello? Mary? It’s me, Jesus! Don’t you see me?”
Mary thinks it is “just” the gardener speaking to her, so she asks him to tell her where he put the body of Jesus. Finally, Jesus says her name, “Mary.” With one word, she realizes who is speaking and turns to confirm that Jesus is standing right in front of her.
So much had happened in the previous three days that I can’t fault Mary for not realizing she was speaking to Jesus, but I am sure she felt awkward that she confused him with the gardener.
This account got me thinking about how many times I am so busy trying to solve a problem on my own that I don’t realize I only need to look at the face of the Lord and sit in His presence. I am guilty of frantically trying to handle life and juggle problems in my power. Mary was on a mission. She was a determined woman who was going to get to the bottom of the grave-robber mystery. Is that why she didn’t recognize the presence of Jesus?
Are we so busy that when Jesus calls our name and tries to get our attention, we don’t recognize His voice?
It can be easy to slip into a pattern where we pray about something but still want to run around frantically trying to solve the problem on our own. Jesus doesn’t call us to depend on Him half-heartedly. He wants us to be more consumed with sitting in His presence than we are frantically trying to solve a problem.
Jesus Christ is not some genie in a bottle that we pray to and poof! Suddenly all of our problems are fixed to our liking. Just as God’s will was played out in His son’s life, God’s will can be manifested in our lives.
Ask the Lord to show you areas of your life where you are the one frantically running around trying to manipulate a situation instead of sitting in God’s presence and waiting on His perfect timing. Don’t get so busy that you miss the voice of the Lord.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13