I have read in the Gospel of John before. I have read, John chapter 20 before. But today while I was listening to this message, I was given a new point of view about what it looks like to follow Jesus.
Even if you don’t follow Jesus, you have some sort of idea what it looks like if you do follow Him. Not for you, but you can assume what it looks like for others. But the picture of what it looks like drawn in John 20 is so perfect.
The story in John 20 is of Mary Magdalene. Mary was not the girl next door. She wasn’t the quiet type. She wasn’t the prim and proper girl that you would expect to be following Jesus. When Jesus found Mary, she was a mess. A total and utter mess. She had exactly nothing going for her. Then Jesus found her. And when she was with Jesus, everything was alright. He gave her peace she hadn’t had before or in a long time.
Then one day she woke up and Jesus was gone. He had been taken. When she caught up to him, he had been beaten and was carrying a cross up a hill. She stood by Jesus as he died on that cross. She stood by as his body was taken down and put into a tomb on a Friday evening.
And Mary was the first person at the tomb on Sunday morning. Why Mary?
Here is where my new point of view on following Jesus comes into play. Mary didn’t have anywhere else to go. She had an unspeakable life before her relationship with Jesus. She was radically transformed by Jesus. Without him, she didn’t have anything. She only knew to stand around in the place where she had last seen him. She only knew to return to that place when the Sabbath was over. She didn’t know what to do without Jesus. She was totally lost without Jesus being there.
Here’s the challenge.
How many of us are just fine in our lives when we aren’t standing next to Jesus? How many of us could take or leave Jesus today, depending on what we have to do or what we want to do? Are we so desperate for our relationship with Jesus, that we wait around for Him to show up for us? Show himself to us? Are we desperately looking for Him? Or listening for Him to say our name?
Do I wake up everyday, bound and determined to hear His voice? Determined to stand before Him?
Or is it easier for me to avoid Him?