Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” John 20:15
Jesus, of course, already knew why Mary Magdalene wept. She wept for the same reason I often weep. I weep because of a lack of understanding of just who it is I am seeking. Mary thought Jesus was dead even though He was standing right in front of her. Similarly, many believers in God are functional atheists, declaring a belief in God but not acting like those who truly believe. Perhaps the problem is that we do not know Whom it is we are seeking.
Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener and considered Christ helpless in the grip of death. How limited is our concept who God is? The best time to answer this question is when life shoves us to the edge of despair. Who do we seek then?
Tim Hansel, the founder of Summit Expeditions, went for a climb and fell a hundred feet, landing flat on his back. Two days later a journey of pain began that lasted decades, until he died at the age of 68. Tim once came to Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego and made the following audacious statement, a comment that stayed with me for years, the truth of which has yet to filter through my poor mind. Tim said something like this, ‘Every now and then take everything you know about Jesus and toss it out the window.’
Jesus is immeasurably more loving, a trillion times more terrible, infinitely more creative, more beautiful, more awesome than we can even imagine. Have you committed sin? He knew you would and already suffered and died for that sin and for every sin you commit in the future. Rest in Him. Are you distraught over the direction this world is going in? Jesus said, “I am the Way…” He is the way to God, yes, but He will also show you what to do with your life. Ask Him how to respond to this fallen world. Trust Him. Follow Him.
Whom do you seek? If it is the genuine Christ that you seek then no other substitutes will suffice. Do you really think paying your tithe, singing worship songs once a week and perhaps helping out in a ministry such as ushering or teaching is enough? Your relationship with Christ MUST NOT be limited by or filtered through your church experience! Following Jesus is thrilling and it is dangerous. In John 12:25 Jesus said, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Jesus, help us lose our lives for your sake. Dare us to be a witness for you. Call us to take bold risks for you. We are all stumbling forward into eternity, an eternity that will be defined by what we did with our time, treasures and the talents you gave us. Jesus, please help us to move boldly forward because of your amazing faithfulness while resting completely in your sovereign, loving kindness. Lord, allow us to toss out the things we think we know about you that limit our experience with you, and to begin all over again.