LENT Day 45 – Rejoice

“I saw the Master!” – John 20

A few years ago I was questioning my faith.  I was questioning God on if I really deserved his love, forgiveness, and grace.  I was struggling.  No one wants to admit when they are struggling with their faith, but it happens.  I didn’t see why God would want to love me unconditionally when I continually disappointed him.

On a particularly rough day I was in the car by myself running errands.  On my way home I was conversing with God asking him all the things.  I came up to the stop sign to turn into my neighborhood when I lost it.  I erupted into tears and was begging God for a sign that he loved me and that I deserved him.  I begged him for assurance that he wanted me to come to heaven with him.  I was gripping the steering wheel and speaking out loud through my tears:

“Jesus, if you came today would you even bring me to heaven with you??!!??”

About a week later I received my answer.

It was Jesus.  In the sky.  There were angels and music all around.  I remember seeing just his robe and sandaled feet through my window.  But I knew it was him.  I FELT it in my soul.  I immediately bowed to the floor and just praised his name over and over….JESUS!!  JESUS!!  JESUS!!  I remember feeling so much peace and love.  It filled me up.  At that moment nothing else mattered.  I didn’t think about leaving my kids or my husband.  It was just me and Jesus.  That’s when I felt my body elevating.  I felt weightless and I knew that Jesus was bringing me home.

That’s when I became aware of the warm sunshine on my skin and a soft little voice singing a song.  I still felt weightless but with my eyes closed I knew I was at home and that it had just been a glorious dream.  It was morning.  The birds were singing.  The sun was shining.  My daughter was in the bathroom singing her own song.  I was smiling ear to ear because I knew that Jesus was not going to forget me.  He loved me and forgave me and offered me an endless about of grace.  He heard me and answered my prayer!

I was rejoicing!

I imagine that Mary felt similar to me.  Her teacher had passed away and she was probably questioning where her life was going.  Where her faith was going.  She was probably wondering if Jesus was going to forget her now that he was gone.  She probably didn’t know where to go with her questions, or who to turn to, her friend wasn’t there to lead her.

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.  She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb.  We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb.  They ran neck and neck.  The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter.  Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.  Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.  Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.  No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.  The disciples then went back home.

The fear of the unknown would’ve stopped Mary in her tracks.  Not knowing where to turn, she probably took comfort in going to the tomb where Jesus body laid.  When she knew it was gone she would be devastated.

But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping.  As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid.  They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.”  After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there.  But she didn’t recognize him.

Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep?  Who are you looking for?”

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.  Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.”

Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples:  “I saw the Master!”  And she told them everything he said to her.

After seeing Jesus and speaking with him, Mary’s heart would have soared.  She would have been so relieved to know he hadn’t forgotten her.  That he loved her deeply still.  She would have been beyond thrilled to race to the disciples to share the good news of his rising from the dead!

She would’ve rejoiced!

Friends…we must rejoice in Jesus love for us.  He doesn’t forget us.  He doesn’t stop loving us.  He will always forgive us and offer us his unending grace.  We can be assured that we can always sing his praises and sit peacefully in his presence.  ALWAYS!

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS! – Phillipians 4:4

STUDY – John 20 (Resurrection!) – The Message Bible
Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.  She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb.  We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb.  They ran neck and neck.  The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter.  Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.  Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.  Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.  No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.  The disciples then went back home.
But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping.  As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid.  They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.”  After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there.  But she didn’t recognize him.
Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep?  Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”
Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.  Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples:  “I saw the Master!”  And she told them everything he said to her.

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