Aside Posted on
Note: This post was written on Monday, January 21 and the Panama Team made it to Panama City.
I am writing this to you from 35,000 feet on a United flight with the Panama team. It’s 6:30 in the morning and we can see a beautiful sunrise on the left side of the plane. This morning we are looking at the twentieth chapter of John. There are a couple of verses here that I love. Notice verses fifteen and sixteen.
15 He asked her, “Woman, 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”).
Do you hear the tenderness and concern in Mary’s voice? She seems only concerned about how Jesus’ body is being treated. There’s something about the phrase, “I will get him,” that makes the whole moment feel loving and tender. I imagine her leaning forward with tears in her eyes ready to move in whatever direction the “gardener” indicates, in order to get the body of Jesus and return it to its place of burial. There is an aspect that you might miss if you don’t know some of the aspects of Jewish law.
You see, the Jews of Jesus’s day had very strict rules by which they lived. Some of the most rigid had to do with what it took in order to be “clean” so that you could enter and worship in the temple. There were a lot of things that could make a person “unclean.” You could become unclean simply by traveling in the wrong area, eating the wrong foods, or handling certain things. One of the most well known prohibitions was touching a dead body. Do you see it? Mary has changed! Suddenly she loves something more than the temple. In this moment her heart, eyes, and mind have a single focus… Jesus!
I think that perhaps this is why she got to see him first. Have you ever thought about why she was at the tomb anyway? Verse one says that she went to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark. I think she’s having trouble sleeping because she misses Jesus. I think she came to the tomb alone because she simply wanted to be as near to him as she could. It’s the same emotion that made her willing to go find his body and move it back to the tomb. Mary loves Jesus. He has changed her whole life and her heart belongs to him!
How about us today? Are we willing to look beyond the traditions of our lives and simply pursue Him? Is there a longing in our hearts to be as near to him as we can? Hearing her devotion and care Jesus simply speaks her name….”Mary” …and she knows him. I think she starts to move towards him when Jesus stops her and tells her not to touch him yet. Its a powerful picture of devotion the Lord.
A picture we should lean towards in our lives!