“It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him” (John 20:14)
It had been a rough week. Started out with two bad hair days in a row. Then came the call that she was overdrawn at the bank. But how, she wondered. By Wednesday the arthritis in her knee was screaming. But the climax to her pathetic week came on Thursday, when the object of her love was arrested and illegally tried in shameful mockery. Thinking things could not possibly get any worse, the final blow hit her when he was disgracefully nailed to a cross. In despair and misery, Mary’s emotions sunk to the lowest point in her life. She spent the next two days sitting on the floor, clutching a blanket. In her mind, her life no longer had any purpose. She just wanted to stay in her home, curled up in a ball.
Yet early Sunday morning she found she had a strong urging to pay a visit to his tomb. When she arrived at the tomb, she discovered that visit only added to her grief. The stone that held her precious friend in the grave had been rolled away. “Oh no,” she exclaimed to herself, “Someone has stolen the body of my Lord!” Panicked, she ran and found the disciples Peter and John to tell them what she had seen. Both disciples came running. They peered into the empty tomb. Still unable to grasp the meaning of the empty tomb with Christ’s teaching of his resurrection, they returned home. But Mary stood there wallowing in her sorrow and pain. It was at that point that Christ appeared to her to give her the comfort she so desperately needed. But sadly, at first, Mary did not recognize the One she had committed her life to.
So, the question is – Why?” Why did Mary not recognize the object of her love? Why did she assume he was a gardener? The answer to that question is the same answer that keeps us from seeing Christ in the middle of our own pain and sorrow. We are not looking for him. In Mary’s mind Christ was in a grave he could not possibly get out of. In Mary’s mind Jesus had succumbed to the power of death. Perhaps Mary struggled with understanding who Jesus Christ really was. That weak point in her faith is what drew her deeper into her sorrow. Jesus Christ had done the impossible, the unthinkable, and Mary could not/would not see it.
As we enter this holy week, let me ask you – what is in your tomb that has you sitting on the floor, clutching your blanket in melancholy despair? What in your life is clouding your vision of our resurrected Lord? Is it a difficult relationship? A family problem? A financial dilemma? Or perhaps a challenging physical infirmity? Something that you just can’t see your way out of. Something that consumes your thoughts day and night. Something that has challenged your faith and drained your emotional stability.
I pray this week as you contemplate the power of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, you will realize nothing in your tomb can hold back his power. No tomb of despair or difficulty has control over our resurrected Savior. Our Lord is no longer in a tomb. He is risen and in absolute control of our lives. Let’s stop being so blind that we cannot or will not see WHO it is we worship this Easter!