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What are you looking for? by Pastor Youngjae Jee

posted Apr 13, 2016, 9:33 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 9:14 AM ]

They thought everything was over.  High priests, teachers of the laws, all the Jews, soldiers, Pilate, Herod, and even all disciples thought that everything was over by Jesus being crucified on the cross.  All Jews went home to keep the Sabbath.

What was left was the dead body of Jesus.  Jesus was completely dead.  Joseph of Arimathea who was secretly a disciple of Jesus came before Pilate and asked him to give his body.  He got the permission.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus who was also secretly a disciple of Jesus too.  They couldn’t openly say that they were disciples of  Jesus because they had fear of Jews, but they must have deeply admired Jesus. They buried Jesus in a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. (John 19:38-42)

Another disciple of Jesus who was a woman wanted to take care of the dead body of Jesus.  She was Mary Magdalene from whom seven demons had come out by the power of Jesus.  She was a marginalized woman in every way, but Jesus had compassion on her without any prejudice.  Jesus was everything to her.  She dearly loved and followed the Lord Jesus.  She must have felt she had to see and take care of the body of Jesus.  Early in the morning on the first day after the Sabbath she went to the tomb, but found that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  Everyone thought that everything was over, but THE STONE WAS ROLLED AWAY.

Mary ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple and told them that THE BODY OF JESUS was taken.  They ran and found only the strips of linen and burial cloth.  The other disciple got there first, but did not go into the tomb.  Peter arrived later, but he went into the tomb first. The others went into the tomb after Peter and he saw and believed, but Peter might have been in wonder. 

They might have thought that something was going on, but they still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. (John 20:9)  They believed what they saw but still did not realize the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They went back to their home.

Mary came to the tomb again and stood outside the tomb crying.  She was crying because she couldn’t find THE DEAD BODY OF JESUS, but not because she couldn’t find THE RISEN LORD.  She heard the voice of angels, “Woman, why are you crying?”  She said, “They have taken my Lord away.” (John 20:13)  She was looking for the dead body of Jesus.  When she turned around she saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)  She was still looking for the dead body.  Jesus asked, “Woman, why are you crying?”  She asked Jesus to tell her where the dead body was.  She was still looking for the dead body.

What are you looking for?  If you are looking for the dead body you may not see the risen Lord even if he is standing right in front of you.  What distracts you from seeing the risen Lord?  What blinds you from seeing the risen Lord?  Is it your ego? worries? Life situations?

It was when Jesus called her name that she finally recognized the risen Lord. Then she went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord.”   She meant THE RISEN LORD not the dead body.  She thought that everything was over.  However, she found that something new just begun.  She became a witness.   A witness is a person who sees something happen and may make a testimony in a court.

One witness may not be enough. “One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed.  A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deut. 19:15)   Peter and the other disciples who went back to their home were not yet witnesses.  However, later on Jesus visited them, and they became witnesses too.  And many other disciples became witnesses too.

“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them -- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:2-10)

Christ died for us and was buried, but was raised on the third day.  Are you looking for a dead body or the risen Lord in your life?  Are you looking for something else other than the risen Lord? May you hear Jesus calling your name and all the testimonies from many witnesses and become a witness of the risen Lord Jesus Christ!  Amen and Amen.