Jim's Journal April 2021
They were expecting a conquering hero… instead they found a crucified friend.
They were expecting a king claiming victory… instead they found a cold borrowed tomb.
They were expecting to celebrate together…instead they found themselves mourning alone.
Everything they expected… died!
But here's where the UNEXPECTED begins…Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark Mary Magdalene went to the tomb…” –John 20:1a
Now, Mary Magdalene was a woman who……before Jesus was plagued with a psychotic disorder that would result in chronic, violent seizures…after Jesus she was healed! She was free! Her life was completely transformed!
And Mary became one of his followers. A disciple. She wanted everyone else to experience what she had experienced! Mary had high hopes for Jesus – she believed he was everything he claimed to be - the long-awaited Messiah. Yet what she hoped for, even expected – DIED!
But then came Sunday morning, and Mary Magdalene woke up early…while it was still dark. Even though her heart was broken… even though she couldn't make sense of his death…she was still grateful for what Jesus had done for her. So, she decided to go to the tomb and see if she could somehow get someone… or a lot of someone's… to move the stone so she could anoint his body with spices to prepare it for burial.
And here's the most important part – when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb that Sunday morning, she expected to find Jesus' body! Yet, when she arrived at the tomb, she…“…saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” –John 20:1a
Mary's first assumption was that someone had broken into the tomb and stolen the body! You know why? She wasn't expecting to find Jesus alive! She wasn't expecting a resurrection! Nobody expected to find no body!
Mary staring into the empty tomb; she's talking to a gentleman who she thought to be the gardener over her shoulder. And Jesus replies… I love this…Mary.” –John 20:16a Can you imagine the look on her face as she hears her own name? Can you imagine the shock as she suddenly understands? Can you hear her whisper back as she turns, Jesus?” She turned toward him and cried out …Rabboni(which means Teacher”).” –John 20:16b
Jesus is alive! Death has been overcome! Mary expected a crucified friend…a cold borrowed tomb…to mourn all alone...REMEMBER? That UNEXPECTED ending on Friday
…became an UNEXPECTED beginning on Sunday when Mary found what nobody expected…and that was to find no body!
But what she got in the Resurrection was an UNEXPECTED NEW beginning! And all our lives can have UNEXPECTED NEW beginnings too because of the resurrection! We live in an Easter world where the stones already been moved, and Jesus has risen. But Mary lived in a Good Friday world where all hope seemed lost.
Intellectually, you know you live in a world where Jesus was resurrected (HOPE), but it sure feels like Good Friday (HOPELESS) on most days and we live and act as though He is NOT RISEN. Don’t we?
This season were celebrating, the most important moment in human history… the pinnacle of the divine story… the moment God came to earth and took his place on a cross all the while JESUS is calling your name.
Jesus is calling out your name, but he also asks a critically important question: Will you call out my name?” Jesus. There's power in that name! There's love and forgiveness in that name! There's hope and life in that name!
Today, will you call on the name of Jesus?
I celebrate His death, burial, and resurrection and claim that story to be MY STORY! How about you?
Your Lead Follower,