Friday, April 7, 2023
John 20:13,17 “They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him”… 17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
When Jesus died and was buried, those who had loved Him and followed Him thought they were defeated and alone. Some began to cry, while others returned to their homes to try and make sense of what had happened. Questions poured into their minds like water crashing through a disintegrating dam. “What did the last three years really mean?” “Why did I quit my day job?” “What am I going to do now?” “Who was this man I thought was the Messiah and Savior of the Jews?” “Why do I suddenly feel so lost and alone?” “What will the Romans do to me if they find out I was with Him?”
The questions kept coming, and there was no one to answer them. “At least when Jesus was around, He took the time to listen to me and answer my questions, even if His answers didn’t make sense. It just felt good to be able to talk to Him. I was at peace knowing that He was there.” It was the emptiness that hurt the most, having invested all that time and energy into His cause only to have Him die and leave us with nothing. “I cannot believe He would do that. There must be something He said that I’m forgetting. I must be able to have hope again.”
Suddenly, Mary is telling the disciples that Jesus has appeared to her and given her a simple message to deliver to them – “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Suddenly the same water that had flooded their minds with questions and drowned them in doubt was now covered with lifeboats filled with memories of things Jesus had said.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer.”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth…you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
What had started out to be a day of drowning in a flood of questions was quickly becoming a day of hope. The disciples climbed into the lifeboats of Jesus’ words and discovered their relationship with Him had not come to an end. Jesus would appear to them in person, but He would do far more than that: He would come and dwell in them in power. That’s the wonder of Mary’s simple message to them – Jesus made it possible for His Father to be their Father, and His God to be their God. They were invited into the lifeboat of personal and intimate relationship with God at the same level that had been modeled by Jesus while He lived on the earth. “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
Jesus invites us into that same lifeboat. Our lives are flooded with questions, and we are drowning in despair, but Jesus has provided a lifeboat for us. All we must do is climb into Him and completely trust Him to save us, and He will. Not only that, but He will reconcile our relationship with God and give us a new life with a purpose – to tell others the simple message that we have seen Jesus. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
Come on. Aren’t you tired of trying to keep your head above water? Climb into the boat and begin a permanent and peaceful relationship with God through Jesus Christ. There’s no need for anyone else to drown – one is enough. Jesus was that one, and He died for you!