Monday, April 6, 2015

Sad Mary Or Street Smart Mary?

'And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?'

She said to them, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.' Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?'

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.'

Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'

She turned and said to him in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."' " - John 20:12-17 ESV

This is such a touching account. It is so personal.

I know what I am about to say might offend some people but it is on my mind this morning and it has real application for us. It reveals grace in a deep way to me.

Was Mary Magdalene the chaste post transformation Mary that we commonly think of her as in this account? Or was she the street smart woman acquainted with the under belly of society that she had been in the later part of her life? She called Jesus 'lord' but that was a title a wife called a husband in the common vernacular. Was she pretending that Jesus was her husband to get access? Had she slipped into her old ways like the rest of the disciples had? Was she working the system to get to Jesus like she had so often done before in other situations or was she truly as shattered as she seemed? I wonder.

It is before Pentecost. The Spirit has not come to them to fill them, change them and encourage them. Jesus' words are still seeds. She is woman who knows how to get things done. Perhaps I will owe her an apology when I see her in Heaven for questioning her methods. I know her motive were good but is this as it seems? People are very interesting after all.

Either way... when the angels ask her a question it is not enough to bring her out of her apparent mournful (or possibly manipulative) state. But when Jesus called her name it all gets dropped. Any act that she might have been playing dissolves. Her desperation turns to wonder. Her hope is restored. The angels speak first but that was not enough. Jesus steps in to resolve what only He can resolve and with a word the veil is removed and light streams into her being.

Then Jesus told her gently, 'Don't cling to me.' Why? Because you have a father now and I am going to see Him. He was my Father but now after the Resurrection he is your Father also. You don't need to act like an orphan who has to fend for herself. You have a family.

Our Father drys our tears and it is our knowledge that we have a Father that gets us to drop our act if we are using manipulation to accomplish some spiritual end. Jesus calling our name in grace snaps us out of it. The rationalizations dissolve.

We are children of God and we have power to function in that knowledge (John 1:12). Perhaps all we need is to hear Jesus call our name and know He is saying it because we have a place at the Father's table reserved for us that no one can take away.

People just need to hear Jesus call their name. That is what I pray for...

"For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." - Revelation 3:17-22 ESV

Have a great day. It is still Easter after all. The Resurrection was the first day of a life that goes on and on.


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