Sensing someone behind her, she turned and confronted a man who she thought was the gardener. Instantly she asked, “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…”Rabboni!” It was the risen Lord, the Christ she loved.
There are 3 things here that can help us:
- Mary was seeking a dead Christ and couldn't find Him. He was not dead! Many today keep making the same mistake and it’s a loss to them-selves. Who needs a dead Christ? Aren’t there those who have been impressed with the story of Christ from the Bible but who are not sure He lives? They attend His church, listen to His ministers and sing His songs, but to them He is still a dead Christ, not a living risen Lord. What a shame.
- Mary did not find Christ; He found her! In spite of all her time and searching, she did not find Christ; He found her. This is the whole point of the gospel! He is seeking us when we are lost, confused, searching, and unable to find Him. Neither the sheep who wandered away nor the coin which rolled into the remote corner could find themselves. It was the shepherd and the woman with the brook who found them. Imagine you were that lost coin and you saw the reaching groping hands trying to find you. Isn’t that exactly what God is doing?
- Mary did not recognize Jesus when she saw Him. Although she was seeking Him with her whole being, she did not recognize Him when she saw Him. Perhaps this was not altogether her fault for He was appearing to her in a form other than that which she was expecting or had known. She supposed He was one of the gardeners.
There is a beautiful story on how one day Francis of Assisi (who was terrified of leprosy) met a leper in the street. He reacted instantly, recoiling, shuddering from the contamination of that loathsome disease. Then ashamed of himself, he ran and cast his arms about the sufferer’s neck and kissed him before passing on. A moment later he looked back and there was no one there—only the empty road in the sunlight. All his life, thereafter, he believed and was sure that the man he had met was no leper—he was Christ.
Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these little ones, you do it unto me. How often we fail to recognize Him when we meet Him! How blind we are. His resurrection has many things to say to us and as we sit in church today ponder these 3 thoughts:
- In your search, let Him find you if you can’t find Him.
- Look for a living Christ as there isn’t a dead one.
- Remember, He will appear to you in this life in more than one way. But He will appear and you need to be able to recognize Him!
AD Van Hoose,
Founding Father of International Ministerial Association