It’s Easter. I’ve heard the story dozens of times, but today there is a verse of scripture haunting me like it never has before.
“He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” - John 20:15
Today was a fantastic day. I have an amazing friend visiting from overseas, I have amazing roommates, we had an amazing time feeding forty college students dinner… and most importantly, we celebrated the amazing resurrection of an awesome God. Perfect day.
Except… today has involved a bit of crying. I cried this morning at church, I cried after talking to my family, I cried listening to my roommate sing a song about today, and I just cried after everyone went to bed. They aren’t tears of sadness or tears of joy; they’re just tears.
And, all day, I believe that God has been asking me “woman, why are you crying? who is it you are looking for?”. Good question. One that I could not sufficiently answer.
As I pondered that question, I was reminded of how Mary responded. She was looking for her Lord. He seemed dead and distant from her. He had both relationally and physically disappeared from her life. Not only was Jesus dead, but his body wasn’t even in sight. If she knew where he was, she would have went after Him, but the situation seemed hopeless because she had no direction.
Here was Jesus, posing the question. “Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”. He was right in front of her, yet she did not recognize Him until He called her name. It is interesting to note that He didn’t call her name until she stated why she was downcast and expressed a desire to find Him.
The Lord is asking, “Woman, why are you crying?”. And, I am reminded who it is that I am looking for and who it is that I serve. If He is Risen, and He has Risen indeed, why am I crying?
Often times, I think we live life perpetually through the eyes of Mary at the beginning of the day. I find myself weeping because my Lord is not here, weeping because they persecuted Him, weeping because I don’t understand how God will be glorified through dismal circumstances, weeping because I know that Jesus died with me in mind. and I have no idea of where to find Him. We have a tendency to leave Jesus crucified and buried and seemingly missing from our present circumstances.
The Good News is that Jesus isn’t in the tomb. He isn’t missing. He is risen! He rose from the grave, He ascended into heaven, and He will come again. The Good News is that He is the first fruits of new life, and that the Spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives in each who believe in Him. He is alive and everything is possible through Him; we do not have to weep because He is here with us, gently calling our name like He called Mary’s on that morning.
Which brings me back to the question: “Why am I crying?” I have tunnel vision. I’m too focused on the cross and consequently I’m missing Jesus standing right in front of me. I leave Christ buried while sobbing to find Him. The truth is that even in the most dismal and confusing of circumstances, He is Risen and is right here. He is already speaking even in moments when I do not recognize His voice, and if I continue to look for Him with intention, He will continue to call my name.
He is risen. He is Risen indeed. Alleluia.