Do not cling to me - 06

We can all relate to Mary's anxious state of mind in this passage. Some commentaries suggest that Mary did not recognize Jesus and supposed him to be a gardener because it was still early morning or because Jesus' resurrected body looked different somehow. That is certainly possible, but maybe it was because her thoughts were so consumed with finding Jesus that she did not recognize him when he spoke to her. Again, maybe she was looking into the past, looking for the Jesus she knew rather than looking expectantly for the risen Lord. The religious leaders of the day certainly did not see Jesus for who he was. They were consumed with the law, their own righteousness, and their self-absorbed attempts to preserve their place of power and significance. They were not looking past the law to its fulfillment and to the foretold coming of the Messiah.

Do we believe that God is always working on our behalf? He is always moving us toward a clearer vision of the kingdom and a better understanding of our relationship with him. We often don't recognize his voice or the Spirit's presence and leading because our focus and our priorities are elsewhere. We see what we want to see, what we need to see, and we use that to help our own cause. We keep looking for the answer when it's standing right next to us and calling our name. I know it's difficult to break that cycle. The only way I know is to work at developing an awareness of God's presence and his voice. Get used to listening and looking for him in every situation. 

I can image Mary looking frantically around the tomb and throughout the garden. Then I can see her stopping and putting her palm to her forehead and saying "Think, think...what was it Jesus said, what was it he taught us?" Then her mind begins searching through a catalog of her moments with Jesus. Then she would remember Jesus saying that in three days he would rise again. She counts on her fingers..."Ok, Friday, Saturday, Sunday." Then she stops and all the fear and loss rush from her mind. She turns around and there is Jesus, the risen Lord. Can we do the same in our situations? Can we find a way to stop and think for a moment. Take a minute to ask yourself...what has God been saying to me? What has he been doing in my life? Where has his Spirit been leading me? Then you remember and you turn and find Jesus there just a little way down the path patiently waiting for you.

John 20:11-18 (ESV) "But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she 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 in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her."

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