This is a beautiful passage. A passage of a woman approaching the tomb with tears, only to find it empty.
The first verse of John 20 makes it clear that Mary come to the tomb in darkness. That symbolism shouldn’t be lost on us, it indicates sadness and loss of hope. For many that is how they find Jesus. It’s when they are at their lowest, that in desperate need they cry out.
For others, it seems that it doesn’t matter where we look, Jesus isn’t there, And there are those who don’t know where to look. They are looking for something but they don’t know what.
There is a repetition in this passage and a focus in Mary’s tears. It reminds us of what Jesus said himself about what was to come, that ‘you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices, you will grieve but your grief will be turned to joy.’
This is where Mary is at, deep grief. But at the tomb things are not as expected, the body of Jesus isn’t there. With the undisturbed death clothing, the presence of angels we know without doubt that this is not a incident of humanity interfering but of divinity acting.
And in the midst of this confusion as Mary marvels and wonders she doesn’t recognise Jesus until he calls her by name.
Friends, do you understand that Jesus is interested in you. He knows you by name. You are not anonymous to him, you are significant and valued. In John 10 we read that Jesus as the good shepherd knows his sheep and they know his voice.
Have you heard the call of Jesus? Have you heard him calling out to you but you have ignored him. Do you find it difficult to believe he cares for you – really cares.
For Mary at this point she obviously in her joy and relief grabs hold of Jesus and he responds, ‘Mary don’t cling to me.’
Jesus is saying, Mary things are changing. You can’t cling to me as the Jesus you knew, you can’t hold onto the past. You’ve got to let go.
Saint John Chrysostom said this with respect to Jesus’ Words to Mary Magdalene, ” It seems to me that she wished to enjoy His presence still, in the same way as before, and because of her joy at seeing Him, had no realization of His greatness, even though He had become much more excellent in bodily appearance”.
As you go into this week, are you looking to experience and encounter the risen Lord? Are you expecting him to transform you? Or are you holing on to past hurts, past disappointments, past experiences that are holding you back. Is your view of Jesus too small, you haven’t realised his greatness – and maybe Jesus is saying you need to let go. Let go of hurts, let go of disappointments, let go of your misconceived ideas as to who I am, let go of your pride, and let me be God.
When we let go and let God (to capture an awful cliche) we are doing it to fully surrender to him. It isn’t until we have fully surrendered, that we will clearly hear him calling us by name, and directing us.
Have and awesome God filled and God fuelled week