Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

10. From Worry to worship – Part 3

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John 20:1-2, 11-18

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 came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, 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.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 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.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 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.

 

It’s here that despite the faithful followers we see a woman who:

  1. Weeps

While the men go home, Mary waits outside the tomb weeping. Sometimes you need more than a man you need the Messiah. We need this reminder today that instead of looking to man we need to look to the Messiah. Here is a hard reality, sometimes your husband can’t heal your hurt, but God can. My wife Angel and I have had 3 miscarriages in our marriage and only God’s hand can heal that. Some of you are asking your husband to do what only the hand of God can do. As a result, you are holding you husband hostage to your hurts instead of holding the hand of God. Instead of blessing there is bitterness.  Mary didn’t fake it and try to put on a façade of faith, look Christians cry but we are called to give our grief to God.  Only Jesus can heal your heart and your hurts. Notice that her brokenness became a blessing, because it was her sadness that caused her to search for the Savior. Sometimes our pain is profitable because instead of just a destructive path it can put us on a productive path because it brings us into His presence.  Mary came back to the last place she was in His presence. She remained there, even when everyone else left and she was rewarded with the resurrected Lord calling her by name. While she lingered on the outside of the tomb she lived in the tragedy of the crucifixion but when she stepped inside she discovered the culmination of the cross. Many of us are living in the tragedy and not the truth because we are lingering on the outside. Jesus had died between two thieves and now two angels sit and between them are the empty grave clothes declaring His resurrection. They ask her a simple question: “Woman, why are you crying?”From a heavenly perspective tears of grief over the empty grave made no sense. But Marry was looking at this from a human perspective. Are you looking at life from a human perspective or a heavenly perspective? Mary’s tears were partially the result of a perverted perspective and partly because anything that takes Christ from our presence should cause us to cry. Which begs me to ask the question, what should Christians be crying over, what should we be burdened and broken for? We should lament the lost, and be sad over sin. It’s here that we see the Savior meeting Mary in her sadness and turning her weeping into:

  1. Worship

While Mary states “I don’t know where to find Him.”We see that the Savior knows exactly where to find her. But she mistakes God for a gardener. How ironic that the first Adam was a gardener (Genesis 2.15) and the ‘second Adam’ was mistaken for a gardener. So often we miss the Messiah because we don’t pay attention to His promises. As a result, we limit the Lord and God becomes just a gardener instead of the granter of life. Jesus asks her the same question, “Why are you crying?”and adds a second question “Who are you looking for?”Jesus asks about her sorrow, but He also wants to know about her seeking. Notice He doesn’t ask her “what” she is looking for but “whom.” Until we find the Savior we are all searching for someone. Sadly, many of us become sidetracked search for something instead of Someone. Trying to satisfy our lives with stuff instead of the Savior. Jesus utters just one word ‘Mary’ and her whole perspective is changed. Some of you here today are just like Mary, your heart is breaking and your soul is searching for something no for someone, for the Savior. Just like Mary Jesus is calling your name, offering you an opportunity to response, will you run to Him and fall at His feet like Mary? Will you come to Christ and let Him turn your weeping into worship? Her cry of tears is now turned to cries of truth, “Rabboni” meaning my master and my teacher. Until we see Jesus for who He really is we will only seek Him based on our problems instead of His presence. He will be our genie not our God. Are you wasting your life on worry or investing it in worship? True worship always results in:

  1. Witnessing

It’s here that Jesus redirects Mary’s life from one of worry to one of witnessing. God gives Mary a message and instructs her to go and be a witness to the world. Worship always involves witnessing because worship is about declaring God’s worth to the world. What kind of a witness will we be, will our witness be one of worry or one of worship? As we see a country divided over politics we need to be reminded that our faith is not rooted in government but in God. We are in danger today of centering our lives around politics more than the Prince of Peace. Are you basing your hope on a political system or on God’s promises? Instead of living in fear we need to start sharing our faith. You want to change the world then be a witness for the Savior. Don’t delay just obey, start cultivating a culture of faith not fear for our future children. Mary understood that she had been deliverance from darkness not only spiritually but mentally and emotionally. Maybe the reason so many Christians live such sad spiritual lives is because they have never realized the depths from which they have been delivered. Living in the reality of the resurrection means responding to the Savior and sharing the story of salvation.

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