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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mary Waited

"Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary (Magdalene) stood .." Jn 20:10-11

We all have different expectations and experiences of our encounters with the Lord Jesus. John's gospel shows us the reactions of three individuals when they discover the empty tomb which can teach us something about our prayer lives.

Peter, John and Mary
Peter behaves true to form. When he hears the tomb is empty he rushes to the scene to see what is going on. He doesn't get there first but, once he's seen the proof that what he was told is true, he's off home again. It's hard to see that this experience does anything more than cause puzzlement for him. His time at the tomb does not answer any questions for him.

John, on the other hand, gets there first and has longer to take in what's going on. He, we are told, sees and believes. His time at the tomb takes him beyond the plain facts which Peter saw and into the realm of faith before he, too, goes home.

Mary's experience, however, is the most powerful. The word, "stood", could just as well have been translated "waited" as it is elsewhere in John's gospel. Unlike the men she doesn't go straight home, she remains there weeping. She doesn't understand what's going on but this emotional woman seems to want simply to be as close to Jesus as possible and that, for her, means staying at the last place where she knows he was.

Three amazing things happen. First she sees two angels, a remarkable enough experience on it's own. Then she has the single most privileged encounter in history for she is the first to meet the risen Lord Himself. Finally she receives the commission from Jesus to go and tell the other disciples. She is the first person to preach the resurrection of Christ, she is the one to report, "I have seen the Lord!"

Make It Personal
In our personal devotions we can be like Peter, dashing in and out of our prayer time without any encounter with Jesus. Or we can be like John, with a degree of discernment which enhances our spiritual experience.

Or we can be like Mary Magdalene, someone who can be totally themselves with Jesus, who waits around in the prayer closet until He arrives with His own unique love and compassion, meeting every need and commissioning for service.

The question is, are you prepared to "waste time" hanging around waiting for Jesus?

Prayer College Assignment
Waste some time being yourself with Jesus this week.