Closing the Gap 4.5.18

The Living Christ

Week 13 Day 4

Pray:

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.

Read:

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.’”

Reflect:

It seems that Mary did not immediately recognize Jesus when he appeared.  Bowed down with grief, or maybe fear, she did not look at him right away. Perhaps her face was in her hands and her eyes blurred with tears as she wept.  Jesus asked her an odd question, “Who is it you are looking for?” Wasn’t it obvious? Jesus frequently asked questions that appeared obvious, but were designed to get at human hearts.  In the Garden after the fall, God asked the first couple, “Where are you?” Jesus asked some of his first followers, “What do you want?” He asked Peter, “Who do you think I am?” Now he asked this grieving woman, “Who is it you are looking for?”  He was not playing games with her; he never played games with people’s hearts. Perhaps he was challenging her thinking…”Mary, remember what you have seen and heard. You saw me be Lord of life as I set you free and raised the dead. Now, who are you looking for and why would you be looking for the living among the dead?”  Maybe the wheels started turning in her head, her senses starting to clear up, when he said her name, “Mary.” That was it, the fog was gone in an instant. She knew that voice and, finally, she turned her face towards him and saw Jesus alive. “Teacher!” she cried in joy. Then she grabbed him and hung on for dear life. He finally had to tell her, “Don’t hold on to me. I am going to return to my Father.”  Before his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus limited himself to single places and times, just like us. He could be here with me or there with you. Now he lives in a resurrection reality where he is not limited by time and space, he is available to you and to me, all the time. This is no science fiction story; this is the gospel truth story. Years after his experience at the empty tomb, Peter wrote, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)  Jesus could choose now to make himself available to your physical senses, but you do not have to see him in order to know him, to love him, and to experience his joy and salvation. Think for a few minutes of the reality of Jesus’ presence with you right now. Take your mind to the fact of his presence with you throughout this day. His presence is an unseen reality in your life; embrace that reality by faith.

Pray:

(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.

 

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