John 20:14 - Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
It was a day Mary would never forget.
She and the other women had come to Jesus' tomb early, to finish His burial arrangements. They were worried about the stone covering the entrance. Who would move it away? But when they got there, it was gone already—and Jesus' body was missing.
It looks like Mary lost her head at this point and ran away—totally missing out on the angels' message that Jesus had risen! In fear and grief she ran to tell the disciples, and then returned to the empty tomb—where she met, first two angels, then the Lord Himself. But she didn't recognize any of them! She wasn't expecting angels—or Jesus—and no doubt the tears got in the way. What a joyful surprise when Jesus called her name!
Mary isn't the only one who expected grief and found joy. Every one of us is a sinner; we all do wrong, and we all naturally expect judgment from God. After all, wrongdoing and punishment go together. How wonderful—and still surprising!—it is to have God say instead, "Your sins are forgiven on account of Jesus."
But that isn't all. Unless Jesus returns first, we will all face death—a time of loss, pain, grief, and fear. These feelings are natural. Death is the enemy. But for those of us who trust in Jesus, death is a conquered enemy, because Jesus has risen from the dead and promises to raise us also. We know now that we will live forever, for Jesus will raise us, body and soul, and we will be forever with the Lord. Our fear and grief will be turned into joy, just as Mary's was. Thanks be to God.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for giving us the joy of Your Son rising from the dead. Amen.
Have you ever mistaken a good or happy situation for a bad one? If you wish, tell the story.
When has God surprised you?
What does Jesus' resurrection mean to you?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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