This past week for Easter, we heard from John chapter 20. Mary has returned to find the tomb empty. She brings Peter and John back with her, and they leave after seeing what she has described. She remains, weeping.
She sees two angels, who ask her why she is weeping. She tells them, she doesn’t know where “they” have taken the body of her Lord. As she continues to weep, Jesus enters the scene, and asks her why she weeps.
The scripture tells us she “turns” and sees Jesus, but doesn’t realize it’s him. She gives the same response as with the angels. We can imagine, knowing how someone sobbing with tears would respond to a curious onlooker behind her. A casual glance of acknowledgement, and she continues to weep. After all, what solace could this person offer?
But everything changes, when Jesus speaks her name. “Mary.” No doubt spoken gently. Spoken in a way that communicates things like “I’m right here.” in a loving, joy-filled, and gently spoken way. A way Jesus has spoken to her before, and called her by name. Immediately as her name is spoken, she knows this is no gardener. No random cemetery caretaker. No traveler wandering through. This is Jesus. Rabbi. Lord.
How often do we give Jesus the precursory “glance” over the shoulder? Assuming He can offer nothing to our current situation. Assuming this “Christianity”, “Church”, “Bible”, “Worship”, or whatever is just another thing going on in the background of a life that really matters. A life where genuine existence is painful. Where we experience loss. Mourning. Grief. Frustration. A world that too often, we don’t actually bring before God expecting anything other than what we’d hope for from the gardener. Glancing at Jesus from the corner of our eyes, while we remain fixed on whatever pain, challenge, or even blessing and joy we’ve found ourselves in the midst of.
But to us, this week and beyond, Jesus remains present. Not silent. He calls out our name, waiting for us to turn completely to him, realizing just who this is beside us. For us to recognize and look to Him as Lord, Teacher, Savior, and receive all that the resurrection offers us and our world.
It seems to ask us the question – how are we looking at Jesus? It could radically transform what happens next…