Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mary Knows IV - The Resurrection

Don't give up, keep seeking.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12


This is a 4-part study on Mary's reaction to the wonder of The Incarnation. Mary is a singularly unique character in scripture. She was chosen to be the carrier of Emmanuel—God with us. While others have been given special endowment to conceive and give birth, only Mary carried God. Her reaction to the situation she finds herself in is fascinating.

Good Friday

Who is your best friend? Who is that guy you can't wait to see during the day and hang out with in the evenings? That guy who always has a timely joke or comment that sends you into hysterics? Imagine that in an instant this guy disappears from your life. He is gone and you are convinced you will never see him again.

Who is your mentor? To whom do you field your deepest, darkest questions? Whose opinion do you treasure the most? When your little ship of life feels tossed to and fro, who is the horizon you look at to settle your stomach? Imagine that in an instant this rock falls through to the other side. He is gone and you are convinced you will never see him again.

Who is the love of your life? Who is the person you would die for and you are convinced would lay down their life for you? Who is that individual who verbalizes their love every morning and evening and backs it up throughout the day and night with their actions? Imagine that in an instant he passes away. He is gone and you are convinced you will never see him again.

What if these friends, mentors, lovers were rolled up into one person. This one person would mean so very much that the hole they leave in your life would rip at the very fabric of your existence. You would become a shadow-man—a ghost—incapable of normal human interactions like fixing breakfast or tying your shoes.

This happened. It happened to the disciples.

Everyone has felt the pain of funeral services. The pain of losing someone you love. Death is the inevitable end of life. The disciples left their occupations for Jesus. They left their homes for Jesus. They left their familiar surroundings for Jesus. They left their former lives and built new ones centered around Jesus. Now Jesus is gone.

Consider Mary. She takes things a step further. She was the first to know about Jesus. She was the first to feel Jesus flutter in her womb. She has been meditating on Jesus her whole life. Every thing he said and did was inspiration to her. She saw him meet a final end—no matter what Jesus said about his own fate, a crucifixion will always seem like a final event. Simon's prediction comes true, a sword has pierced Mary's soul in a way that no other human could feel. Doubtless, she enjoyed unique privileges as the mother of God, but she also tasted a more bitter flavor of of what we now know as Good Friday.

The Resurrection

But that is not the end of the story. We know Jesus was laid in a tomb. We know the tomb was heavily guarded by war/riot-hardened Roman soldiers. We also know that a group of women went to visit that same tomb and noticed that the supposed dead man was not inside. In fact, he was very much alive! That lost cornerstone of life has been restored. Not only restored, but glorified in a way that exceeds his previous existence. In a way, Jesus was much more alive after the resurrection than he was before he died—his work is now complete.

The cumbersome depression has been overturned by a double-portion of relief. Cries of mourning are replaced by more voluminous shouts of joy. The women, yes Mary too, are now privileged with the news of the resurrected Christ. They report back to the apostles.

They need to see it to believe it.

It seemed like nonsense to them. They couldn't understand it. I'm not sure that the women fully understood it either. They just knew it to be true. They were just doing as they were told. It was the only explanation that makes any sense. How could someone steal a body that was guarded by Roman soldiers? Why would angels, quoting Jesus' own words, deceive them? The truth can be incredible at times.


The key resolution to the resurrection account comes at the end of the chapter:
[Jesus] said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 
Luke 24:44, 45
During the course of this four-part investigation of Mary's experiences with Jesus of Nazareth, we have seen her strive to understand the things that God was doing in her life. Rest assured that God works in your life as well. Also know that God honors honest inquiry and will reward an honest seeker by allowing them to find.

There are some things that are beyond our understanding. We have already mentioned that even though we can't comprehend some truth, we can always treasure it. However, know that one day these intricacies will be exposed. The mysteries will be revealed. Scripture says that we see darkly as through a mirror, but one day we will know as we are known. Christ will one day do for us what he did for the disciples, he will open our minds and we will understand the scriptures.

I do not mean to sound trite, which happens all too often in discussions of this topic. We say, Well, one day we'll understand this. We then stop trying to understand it today. We think we are relying on God to reveal it when what we are actually doing is giving up on the search for truth. Do not give up, keep seeking.

The fact that God will reveal it to us should be an encouragement to continue learning and not an excuse to stop learning. Let us faithfully pursue truth. Rest assured that we serve a living savior who is actively involved in our spiritual development. He will bring all things full-circle.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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