Two Questions (April 16, 2012)

…Opening To…

Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. (N.T. Wright)

…Listening In…

As soon as she had said this, [Mary Magdalene] turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” (John 20:14-15; context)

…Filling Up…

Over the next two weeks of devotiONEighty, we are going to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection. I know I’m a week late – last week I celebrated Jesus’ Resurrection by taking a week off of devo180 – but that’s okay, because in the church we celebrate Easter for seven weeks. Well, we celebrate the Resurrection every Sunday, but we celebrate it with special focus during the seven weeks after Easter. So, how are we going to celebrate on devo180? Glad you asked. Each day over the next two weeks, we are going to look at something Jesus said in one of the four accounts of the Gospel in the chapters that follow his Resurrection. We’ll start with John. (You knew that was coming right?)

The first time Jesus speaks after the Resurrection is to Mary Magdalene in the garden near his empty tomb. He asks her two questions, but he already knows the answers. (Isn’t that how it always is when Jesus asks questions?) “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Leaving aside the bad grammar (For whom are you looking?), I wonder why Jesus asks these particular questions.

The first is more obvious – Mary is distraught that his body is gone, and apparently the angels she saw in the tomb did nothing to alleviate her anxiety. And so she is crying when Jesus, whom Mary mistakes for the gardener in the next verse, approaches her. He knows why she is crying, but he also knows that in a moment she will completely forget her tears. Thus, his question, I think, is less “What are you crying about?” and more “There’s no need for tears.”

His second question is one that reaches out of the Gospel and grabs me by the front of my shirt. “Who are you looking for?” This is a question each of us should be listening for Jesus to ask us every single morning when we wake up. I doubt the first time we hear this question, will we respond, “You, Lord.” Nor the second time. Nor the third. But as we follow Jesus, as we walk closer in his path, perhaps over time, we will come to seek Christ daily. And when we hear him ask the question, we will respond with his name.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are the one whom I seek. Help me to seek you all the days of my life, so that I may know that you turn my tears of sorrow into tears of joy. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you raised your Son from the dead and showed me that nothing in all of creation can separate me from your love.

One thought on “Two Questions (April 16, 2012)

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