Thursday, March 31, 2016

When We Miss Jesus

During our recent Easter church service, it really popped out at me that after Jesus had risen, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Him.

In fact, she thought Jesus was the gardener. 

The gardener!

Sobbing that Jesus was gone, Mary asked this "gardener" if He had taken Jesus’s body.

Isn’t that something?

She didn’t recognize Jesus!

But Jesus wasn’t offended.

He just called her by name.

And then she knew.

Read it for yourself in John 20:10-18.

Our pastor showed us a Rembrandt depicting the scene.

Rembrandt has Jesus holding a shovel like a gardener. Mary is crying on the steps of the tomb.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that.

The not recognizing Jesus.

It’s so easy for me to think, duh, Mary, how could you NOT know Jesus standing right in front of you?

She had just been walking around with Him.

She saw Him teach and perform miracles.

You’d think she would know better than most,
every wrinkle in His face 
and the amazing love in His eyes.

But she didn’t.

Maybe that’s because it was still somewhat dark as dawn was just breaking.

Maybe that’s because Mary wasn’t just crying that Jesus was gone, she was wailing.

According to my bible notes, wailing means 
“a loud expression of grief.”

Is it possible Mary was too caught up in her own grief 
to see Jesus standing right in front of her?

My bible notes also say that perhaps Jesus appeared to Mary first, 
before any of the other disciples, 
because she needed Him most at that time.

Jesus revealed Himself to comfort her.

The disciples didn’t recognize Him at first either when Jesus was standing by the edge of the water while they were fishing not far from shore.

Isn’t that interesting…?

I always find it curious what is included in the scriptures.

Little details that show the real humanity of the characters of the bible 
that I could easily view as spiritual superheroes.

But they were just like us.

Like earlier in John 20 when it talks about the disciples running fast to the tomb to see if Mary was telling the truth that Jesus wasn’t there and it goes on to mention who got there first.

As in, who was the fastest.

FYI:  it wasn’t Peter.
And since John was the author of the book, 
I can only assume who the winner was.

Total macho humanity.

And back in the Old Testament, in Numbers 12:3,

“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)"

Moses wrote Numbers, by the way.

That’s some false humble humanity right there.

Then there’s Martha and Mary. While Martha was busy getting everything ready for what I have to imagine was quite a meal, Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet listening to Him.

Martha was so put out and flustered that she tattled on Mary to Jesus.

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Luke 10:40

Did she really just try to boss Jesus around?!

Jesus put her in her place,

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

Martha missed Jesus and He was IN. HER. HOUSE.

That’s some ugly, transparent, truthful humanity.

Especially if you are a woman
and have ever worked in a church kitchen.

Or just your own at home.

Those details ultimately are comforting.

Because it’s no different today than it was 2,000 years ago.

We miss Jesus all the time.

Or we try to boss Him around.

We get caught up in who will finish the race first

or how we can appear humble doing it 

or what we will serve for dinner and who will help us.

We walk right past Jesus because we think He’s the gardener.

We miss the whole amazing fact that 

But He’s so patient to call us by name.

To steer us back to Him from our own humanity rabbit trail.

To comfort us.

Yoo hoo! 
Over here. 
This is the way. 
Let’s walk in it.


  1. Karmen, I love how you illustrated Mary not recognizing Jesus. I know there have been many times, when I'm so focused on what's going on with me that I fail to see Him- even if He's staring me in the face. I love the idea that He came to comfort her. That is so my Jesus—compassionate for the downcast and brokenhearted. So glad I stopped by today!

  2. Oh so true friend - we do miss Him but He gently woos as back every time doesn't He. Oh the Grace of it all...I can identify with Mary being caught up in her own grief and missing Jesus yet He is the only one, the One, who can bear that grief for us. Great post Ms. Karmen.


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