The Living Christ
Week 13 Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
John 20:1 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. 2 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!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Confusion. What is true? What is real? What is right? What is wrong? What do I believe? What do I doubt? The word “confusion” comes from two words that mean to “mingle together.” Confusion is where competing ideas, beliefs, and feelings are jumbled up inside of you. There is no clarity, there is only confusion. Confusion unnerves us, it causes us to doubt what we thought was true. When deeply held beliefs are under attack, the confusion shakes a person to their very core. When the pegs on which life was hung all fall to the ground, then life’s meaning itself can fall to the floor in a jumbled mess. Jesus was not supposed to die. Certainly not like this. Not this soon. The reality and finality of his death had to be surreal to those who loved him. Perhaps Mary went to Jesus’ tomb early on that Sunday, while it was still dark, because she had not been able to sleep. Confusion steals your sleep. She went to touch the tomb, to see it, to try and make it all feel real, because in her mind she just could not comprehend what had happened. Then when she arrived at the tomb, hoping to bring some order to her confused mind and heart, what she saw made things worse. Not only had they killed Jesus, now they had stolen his body. She ran. Confusion can make you feel like running away from what is in front of you. She fled to her friends and cried, “They have taken the Lord and I don’t know where they have put him!” Stop, Mary. Breathe. They did not take his life; he gave it away. They could not take his body; he is not dead. Confusion makes unreality feel real. Are you confused right now? Do thoughts of some potential dark future make you feel like fighting, or fleeing? Or maybe you freeze and are unable to do anything? Take a deep breath. Do you feel the air in your lungs? It is giving you life right now. It is infusing your blood with oxygen, with life that is pumped throughout your body to your heart and brain. Most often you don’t know you are breathing, even though breath is life. Has confusion come into your world? Take a breath. Do not trade what you feel for what is real. What is real? What has Jesus said? He has sustained you even when you were not aware he was there – like those life-giving breaths that you took for granted. He will sustain you now, when you are desperately aware of your need for him. Breathe deeply of air and of his peace. Air is life, Jesus is life. Confusion can make us acutely aware of what we have been taking for granted.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.