I’m amazed at the economy of words used in the Bible to describe the most miraculous events.
“Let there be light.”
“Lazarus, come out!”
Sometimes less is more.
But on one particular Sunday, one woman heard one word, and it changed everything.
Grief & Disbelief
Mary Magdalene, and a few other women, rose before light to anoint the body of Jesus at the tomb.
They had been grieving all weekend. Friday they witnessed the horrific event of their beloved leader and teacher, Jesus, as he died on a criminal’s cross.
Now the Sabbath was over, and they began to do what women always do; they showed up ready to serve.
The disciples were in hiding and nowhere to be found, but the women went together with spices to do the unpleasant, but loving act, of anointing Jesus’ body.
On their way, they realized they had no way of getting to Jesus because there was no one to move the stone away from the tomb.
But when they got there they found the stone had been rolled away and an angel was sitting where Jesus once laid and he said,
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:6-7).
The other women ran away in fear, but Mary stayed behind, sobbing, numb, and clearly not comprehending what she had just heard.
Love & Logic
John 20 picks up where Mark left off.
Jesus appeared and stood behind Mary but she didn’t recognize him and thought he was the gardener.
“Woman. Why are you weeping?”
“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
All she knew was that she loved Jesus.
She had once been tormented by the powers of hell, but now she was a follower of Jesus.
Even in her grief and sorrow, her love outweighed her logic.
She hadn’t thought about how to roll away the stone, and believed she alone could move Jesus’ body and return it to the tomb (or at least she’d figure out a way).
And then Jesus interrupted her grief and her developing plan to move his body, with one word.
What tenderness! He said her name with such a familiar intonation, that she immediately knew it was him.
Can’t you picture it?
With her face in her hands, she suddenly stopped crying and stood upright, realizing instantly it was Jesus. He was alive and standing right in front of her!
Her only response was to run into his arms and never let him go.
Amazement & Worship
The empty tomb and the risen Christ, changed absolutely everything for Mary in that moment, and for you and me right now.
Jesus knows who you are, and he knows what doubts you wrestle with. He says to you, like he said to Mary…
Mary heard her name, and she believed and worshipped him as Lord.
He personally invites you to also see him as the risen Savior, and to respond, like Mary did — in worship.
She had the benefit of believing because she saw him.
But Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29.
Amazement is a start…but it’s not the goal. The goal is to respond in worship.
You can be…
- In awe of the story, and not be living by faith.
- Moved by the music, but not be worshiping Jesus.
- Wow-ed by the preaching, but still leave unchanged.
- Offer your money, but still hold back your heart.
“God will not leave us in a state of amazement. He works by grace to craft us into people of settled, hopeful, courageous, active, celebratory, God-glorifying faith. He will settle for nothing less.”Paul David Trip, New Morning Mercies
What will it take for you to believe and to respond in worship?
Jesus is real, he’s alive, and he changes everything.
He is risen, friends. He is risen indeed!