Seeking Jesus

John 20 tells the story of a woman who would not stop searching for Jesus until she found Him. Mary Magdalene’s heart had been completely captured by Jesus Christ, and in her love for Him, she set out to find Jesus’ body and give Him the honor that He deserved.

For Mary, finding an empty tomb meant simply “They have moved Him.” Jesus wasn’t risen, as far as she knew, He was just gone. The disciples came, confirmed her report, and went back home. They didn’t believe in the resurrection, because they didn’t understand the Scriptures or Jesus’ promises to them yet. They did not know where Jesus was, and they moved on. Jesus was gone.

But that wasn’t good enough for Mary. She remained outside the tomb, weeping. She should be rejoicing, but she doesn’t yet understand. Why? Because she hasn’t yet found Jesus. Finding an empty tomb means nothing. Finding Jesus means everything! Even in her tears, however, instead of returning home, Mary kept looking for Jesus.

Think about that in terms of your own experience: are there times when Jesus seems far away from you, when He is hard to find? When you try to talk to Him in prayer, or read His Word, but Jesus stays gone? The disciples and Mary give us two contrasting approaches for when that happens: Peter and John see that Jesus is gone, and stop looking. Mary sees that Jesus is gone, and absolutely refuses to give up. Which example will you follow?

The lesson is simple: Be like Mary! Don’t stop looking for Jesus, just because He isn’t in the first place you look. Many of you, when you are discouraged, sad, bitter, or depressed, look for Jesus with only a quick glance. You ring the doorbell, but only wait for a second. You call, but only let it ring once, and then hang up, thinking that Jesus doesn’t care because He doesn’t answer instantly. But Mary shows us a better way. Keep searching until you find Jesus!

After the disciples left, Mary looks into the tomb again in desperation, and the strange thing is, the tomb is no longer empty. She sees two angels in white, sitting where Jesus had lain, one at His head, one at His feet. And they ask her why she is weeping, and she tells them about her search for Jesus. Then, noticing someone else, Mary turns around and sees another man, whom she mistakes for the gardener, and asks him if he knows where the body is.

Jesus answers her with one word, her name. “Mary”. That’s all He has to say. She hasn’t found his new tomb, she hasn’t found his body; she’s found Jesus Himself! Realize, beloved, that only someone who has been desperately looking for Jesus will fully appreciate finding Him. Mary would have been content just to find the body and anoint Him for burial, but her faithfulness and persistence results in an encounter with the living Christ.

How often is that true for us? We seek for Jesus, and when we find Him, He is better than we ever could have hoped. His comfort is sweeter, His love is stronger, His Word more powerful, His pardon more freeing. Mary hoped to find Jesus’ body, but she got so much more!

This is the great reward of Mary’s search: she, first among all the disciples, has seen the Resurrected Lord. She is given the opportunity to spread the Word, because she has found Jesus. Mary is the first evangelist, the first herald of the good news: “I have seen the Lord.”

And this is the reward of all who seek Him – Jesus Christ will not hide himself from you. He is near to those who seek Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you. So where do you find Jesus? Don’t look to the rolled-away stone, don’t look to the empty tomb, don’t try to see Jesus in movies or goofy books about heaven. Spend your life seeking Jesus in His Word so that when He speaks to you, you will recognize the voice of your Resurrected Lord.

Here is the message: Look for Jesus until you have found Him. When you find Him, it will be better than you can possibly imagine, because Christ is risen from the dead. Now, go and tell everyone!

Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2014 by CJ Bowen