Who are you seeking?
Whom are you seeking?
“Whom are you seeking?” The man asked Mary that day next to the empty tomb. What were Mary’s thoughts as she looked at him through eyes overflowing with tears? Whom am I seeking? What kind of question is this – here in a graveyard next to a grave that has clearly been robbed of its contents.
I am seeking the body of Jesus –
The One who set me free from the torment of demons.
The One who restored my dignity and worth and removed my shame.
The One in whom I and all His followers had put all our hopes in to save our nation from the oppression of Rome the same way He had set me from the demonic oppression.
I am seeking the body of Jesus – where have you taken Him?
Jesus. No one had treated her the way He did. He looked at her like she was a real person. A person He valued. A person loved. But now He was dead, brutally killed, and to add insult to injury, someone had stolen His body.
She stands in the garden sobbing standing next to an empty tomb, seeking to find Jesus and there He stands in front of her and she doesn’t recognize Him. He is talking to her and she doesn’t recognize His voice. She doesn’t know Him. She doesn’t see Him. She stands in the presence of the very One she seeks and is unaware of Him.
How can this be? How could Mary not see Who was standing right before her? But she was not alone. Jesus appeared to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee and they did not know Him. He appeared to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and had a lengthy conversation with them, and they did not know Him.
The angel had told Mary He had been raised from the dead. The disciples had heard that He was risen. But they still were unable to recognize Him when He appeared to them. Perhaps one of the reasons they did not recognize Him was because their understanding and their vision of Jesus, who He was and what He had come to do, had been distorted by their own personal agendas. They had sought a healer, a miracle worker, One who would fill their bellies with bread, a Messiah that would overthrow Rome and establish them as leaders in their new nation.
But the Messiah that they were seeking and whom they thought they found had died and was buried along with Jesus in the tomb.
But the Jesus that is – the One that died and was buried and raised from the dead, the Jesus that now stood in front of Mary calling her by name is far better than the Jesus that they had wanted, sought for and shaped. This Jesus was not simply a healer of diseases, but He healed the disease of sin that destroys the soul. This Jesus was more than someone to fill their bellies with food, but He was the Living Bread that fills their souls with eternal life. This Jesus not only had power to free Mary from demons, but He would fill her with His Holy Spirit. This Jesus is the King of a kingdom far greater than any earthly kingdom…an unshakable, unstoppable eternal kingdom. He is a Messiah far greater than the One they had imagined Him to be.
How like Mary and the disciples we are. We are in the presence of Jesus and we don’t see Him. We don’t see Him, we don’t recognize Him because we are expecting Him to look like someone else. We are expecting Him to be something else. We are looking for a Jesus that we can shape. One that we can control. One that will fill our bellies and make our lives happy and comfortable. But just like in the Bible, the Jesus that is is far better than one we can create. Just like in the story of Mary, when Jesus calls our name, and we see Him for the first time, we will be amazed by His beauty and will throw ourselves at His feet.
The question Jesus asked Mary is the questions He asks us – whom are you seeking?
(*Note - Pastor Gibson Largent recently preached a series of sermons on the encounters that people had with Jesus after the resurrection. The very first person that experienced the risen Jesus was Mary Magdalene. Cherie writes today's post reflecting on that encounter. If you would like to listen to that sermon on Mary Magdalene click here)