But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then 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.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. John 20:11-18 (NKJV)
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (NKJV)
Oldest son is home from his three month stint in Colorado. He earned his National Park Service Law Enforcement certification as well as Wilderness First Responder and Wildlife Firefighter. He has a few weeks until he starts his next park service job, so he flew home and in a matter of hours went from 50 degree weather to 90 degree heat. Husband and I went to pick him up at the airport on Wednesday night. Even though he had only been gone a few months, he lost 25 pounds and grew a beard while he was away. So when he approached us, neither husband nor I recognized him at first. We managed to cover well, so I do not think he noticed, but it is embarrassing when you don’t know your own child. Two thousand years ago, very early one Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene had a similar encounter. Only she did not recognize her Lord. Tradition tells us that Mary Magdalene is the woman who bathed Jesus feet with perfume, in essence anointing Him before His death. Some even believe that it was Mary Magdalene who Jesus saved from being stoned when the religious leaders dragged her before Jesus and accused her of adultery. Whatever her past, along with the disciples, she grieved over Jesus’ death and as soon as the Sabbath passed, she went with some other women to His tomb to prepare His body for burial. It was then, that she discovered the empty tomb. After alerting the disciples, she was overcome with grief because she thought someone had stolen the body of her Lord. Encountering the man she believed to be a gardener, she begged Him to help her find Jesus. He said, “Women, Why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” It was not until He spoke her name that Mary recognized Him and worshiped at His feet. Then, she became the first evangelist as she hurried to bring the Good News of Christ’s resurrection and tell the disciples Jesus was alive. Like Mary, I wonder, today, on Easter, who you seek? Does God seem elusive to you? Are you trying to fill your emptiness and grief with things of this world? With possessions, drugs, alcohol or relationships? Christ is the only one Who can meet your needs and satisfy that hunger that gnaws at you. Even if you are already a believer, there is a lesson to learn here. Are you like Mary seeking Christ in this messed up world we live in? Does He seem far away? Christ said that when we minister to the hurting souls of this world, it is as though we minister to Him. The woman begging on the street corner. The man in the homeless shelter. The foster child. The AIDS victim. We can see Christ in their faces. To serve Jesus, we must follow Him to places we may not want to go. Who do you seek? Just look around you, He is there. Blessed Resurrection Sunday!