Monday, April 14, 2014

Looking For Jesus

Submitted by Kerry Patton

“But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” John 20:11-13

The urgency appears to be over for us.  In fact, I don’t know of a single adult who gets excited or anxious about hunting for Easter eggs.  I mean, we most likely helped hide the eggs, so it isn’t like we don’t know where they are…  By now, we’ve been through enough Easter egg hunts that we know to look up on window sills, or that some of the eggs are tucked in behind the leg of the swing set or on the top of the patio table.  We’ve learned that not all the eggs are simply lying out in the open of the lawn.  For a good number of them, you have to LOOK!!

For that matter, since we probably helped put the egg hunt on, we know where the bags holding the leftover candy and chocolate are inside the house.  So, no urgency to rush out into the yard and find the good stuff before anyone else does.  We’ll just sit back and let the kiddo’s do the hunting.  We have plenty of chocolate…and if we don’t, we can just run down to the store and grab some, right?  Yes, it’s all rather routine.  We are used to the Easter games.  No need to get excited. 

But…what if we could go back to the innocence of childhood?  Do you remember the urgency of those early hunts?  Oh. My. Goodness!  We had to hurry!  We had to focus and work fast.  If not, our friends, or worse…our siblings would get OUR candy!!  This was serious business.  Get the candy!  GET THE CANDY!!!!  GET. THE. CANDY.

Early Christianity is like that for many of us.  Ever think about that? The news of “The Good News” was brand new to us.  The urgency of the cross was coursing through our veins and the command of the Great Commission was not just ours… it was OURS.  Go into all the world…make disciples, teach them all that Jesus taught… It was urgent! Why? Well, because Jesus was coming back… SOON, in fact it could be today…or tomorrow!

New Christianity often breeds a zeal in the heart and life of the new believer that compels her or him to be “looking for Jesus” everywhere, in everything; in trials, in tribulations, as well as in victories and miracles.  Not merely in the ‘open lawn’ as it were, but in the higher and hidden places, as it were. 

But then time passes doesn’t it?  The urgency of the cross tends to become less urgent and more of an important priority, and then later - more of a guiding principle…and sadly, often only ‘what I have believed for all these years.’ Looking for the Risen Christ can become less of what life is about, and more about what we do from 9:00 to Noon on Sundays.  You see, it is no longer our first egg hunt.  We’ve been here before…in fact, lots of times.  We know the drill.  Jesus was alive.  He died on the cross.  Three days later, God raised him from the tomb and he is alive forever more.  Easter.  Yes, important.  Oh, Absolutely!  Yes, we’re grateful.  It was life changing.  Yes, but we’re pretty used to that news by now.

For Mary Magdalene however…She was looking for Jesus!  As far as she knew in that moment, the body of her Lord had been stolen and she was weeping.  There was an urgency to finding him.  Shortly, Jesus reveals himself to her as risen from the dead by speaking her name: “Mary.”  

Apparently, she falls into his arms and won’t let him go!!  How do we know this?  Verse 17 has Jesus asking her to let go.  She was so very glad that he wasn’t gone!  So very glad that he was alive! So very, very glad to hear him speak to her and call her by name. 

You see, she was looking for Jesus…urgent to find him.  And when she found him, she did not want to let him go.  Now, THAT is an Easter hunt!  Looking with all you are…to find Jesus, and when you do…never wanting to let him go.

I’ve written all of this…taken this journey of devotion…to share a reality.  I have to keep Easter fresh.  I have to stir up the fire of my passion for his resurrection, and ensure daily that the reality of the living Lord Jesus is affecting everything I do.  I must not become passive about the reality that my Lord Jesus…is ALIVE.

Looking for Jesus.  Finding Jesus.  Never letting go.  Easter.

Father God, How blessed am I to have been born in a land where I could learn about Jesus and your love for me!  How easy is it for that reality to become common and mundane to my daily living!  Father…Oh Father, keep me passionate about my Lord Jesus.  Keep me looking for Him alive in all I do, and think, and say.  Keep me leading others in the direction of the prize of Easter; that empty tomb… Keep the urgency of the living Jesus alive in all I do.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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