Monday, January 31, 2011

Life of Christ Devotional - John 20:1-18

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 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.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus 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.’ ” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. ” (John 20:1–18, NIV)
From the moment they laid Jesus in the cold stone cave, Mary Magdalene awaited the opportunity to fill the room with the fragrance of her love. It was a customary practice to place the spices on the body and the very least she could do for the one who had saved her life from the demons that had once plagued her. (Luke 8:2) She had to do something even though nothing she could do would accomplish what her heart ultimately longed for. This wasn’t about the spices…this was just one last opportunity for her to look upon the face of the one who loved her more deeply than any other. Jesus had saved her soul and she missed Him with all her heart.
They placed Jesus in the tomb the day before the Sabbath. For Mary, the Sabbath became a day she thought would never end. She didn’t even wait for the sun to rise in the morning. She stepped into the darkness to make her way to the tomb, her heart growing with anticipation with every step she took. But when she arrived at the tomb, her steps were frozen with in a moment of unexplainable fear. Her heart pounded in her chest and ice cold blood coursed through her veins. The demons, who had once plagued her, now assumed their position and awaited the opportunity for hopelessness to open the door to her heart.
She ran for the others as the enemy nipped at her heals. Tears dripped from her eyes, saliva dripped from their mouths. She alerted the disciples who arrived to find their worst fears confirmed. Jesus was gone. They left to find the others and now she was alone, once again, with darkness as her only companion.
She had to see for herself. She looks into the empty tomb only to find the dark space filled with light. The brightness of the two angels filled the room and a ray of hope peaked into her soul. The demons stood silent as the deceit of their lies could not be spoken in the midst of God’s Truth.
Mary recognizes a silhouette by the light of the divine beings. She assumes he is the gardener and the one most likely to have stolen her hope. But then He speaks and all He had to say was her name...”Mary.”
It was the same voice who called her out of the demonic darkness of her past and unveiled a glorious light of salvation in her soul. The demons recognized it as well and now they were the ones scurrying away to herald the news of their doom. The light of Christ had restored her hope and Mary was once again protected by the power of the promise of God.
Hope has risen from the grave and is alive in the hearts of His people. We are protected by His promises and the demons of deceit are made silent in the presence of His truth. Praise the Lord!!! He is alive for evermore!

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