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Do You Cling to Jesus?

The sun had peaked over the mountains on this first day of the week. Mary had wept since Friday. She could find no more tears. She stumbled over the garden path to His tomb. Not really His tomb, Joseph of Arimathea had used his own tomb to lay the body of the Master. Mary had followed from a distance on that Friday to where he laid the Master, when the sky had grown black and the heavens had joined her in her sorrow.

Now she woke with one thought: to prepare the Master’s body. She carried spices and hurried to the garden. She came from her suffering. Her past, with its seven demons still sometimes haunted her, driving her to the One Who had healed her. Now, without Him, Who would fill that empty longing of her heart?

She sniffled. She must put those thoughts aside and think of how she would remove the stone.
The Romans had sealed the tomb. The stone had taken several men to slide it down the grove to cover the cave. When the stone had fallen into place over the opening of the cave, she had felt her very breath taken from her.

Death had been so final, so sure.

She had turned from watching on that Friday without hope. She could do nothing on the Sabbath, but must wait for the new week to prepare the Master’s body.

Night had brought no sleep. Nor any answers about how to move that stone. Would she even be allowed past the sixteen man guard the Romans had posted. Even at this hour none of the guard would sleep, lest they lives be forfeited. She had heard tell of how one man had caused his entire group to be burned to death because he had fallen asleep on watch. Rome was a cruel master even over those who protected her.

Even as she made her way to the tomb, she found no answer. Her concern grew the closer to the tomb she came.

As she reached the final bend in the path, she glanced forward. Although the sun wasn’t fully up yet, she could see the Roman guards weren’t there and the seal had been broken, the stone had been rolled away. Something had happened. Rome wouldn’t break the seal of the tomb for no reason. What did that mean?

She quickened her pace, almost tripping in her hurry to reach the tomb.

Yet now, with the stone cast to one side, she felt a hope. Not that she would see Jesus again, but that she could take care of His body in the way He should be.

She leaned against the stone to catch her breath and stooped to look inside the tomb. Her eyes adjusted to the dim interior as she stepped inside.

Two angels sat: one sitting at the head where the body of Jesus had been lying, the other at his feet. Even in the dark cave’s interior, their garments shown. Not to see them, but their glow led her to see where the body of the Master had been. Only the face-cloth was rolled up in a place by itself and the linen wrappings lay in the shape of his body, flattened.

What did it mean?

She moved her lips to ask, but could not.

One angel spoke, “Woman, why do you weep?”

She hadn’t realized she had started to cry again. How did she have any tears left? She self-consciously wiped her tears. How could she have any more? She had wept since He had died. Her own leaders had turned Him over to die. The Romans had crucified Him. They had hastily thrown him in a tomb before the Sabbath came when touching a dead body would make them unclean and unable to worship. But now, they had taken His body?

She clenched her hands around the spices and bit her lip. She stepped closer to the body-less form, unable to look away. New tears came and with them, anger.

The Master had given meaning and worth to her, yet His own life had been taken. She felt anger that someone would move his body. Anger that she couldn’t even prepare His body for death. Who could have done this?

She lifted her gaze to look at the angel who had spoken. Her words portrayed her soul’s agony. “They’ve taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.”

In the silence that followed, she felt the hopelessness. Not only would their be no body, but there would be no more Master. She hunched forward and stifled a sob.

She turned at a sound behind her.

A man stood in the entrance of the tomb. His face was shadowed and his body silhouetted from the rising sun behind him.

Hugging the spices, she stepped toward him. She crawled through the tomb’s doorway to speak to him. Her quest to preform one final service to her Master still pressing upon her.

“Woman, why are you weeping? Who do you seek?”

Was this the gardener? Would he know where Jesus was? She gulped back her tears, with renewed hope, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where, so I will take Him away.”

There was a long pause.

Would he tell her? Did he know? She prepared to ask again.

“Mary.”

In that tone, in that expression of concern, Mary recognized the Master. No one said her name with such love and compassion and understanding. Yet there was no denying His death, she had watched Him suffer and die. No man could return from that death.

Could she dare hope? “Teacher!”

Now she wept, not from His death, nor from the frustrations at how to take care of His body, but because He was here.

Relief flooded through her. All hope was not lost. She didn’t need a body, when she had His presence. She fell to her knees and grabbed his feet and kissed them. She barely heard when he spoke.

“Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to My brethren and tell them ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

She sat back and looked into His face. He would leave again? When He had died, she had mourned the loss like a hole had pierced her own heart. Now He tells her He must return to His Father? Why must He leave?

She struggled to stand. She didn’t understand, but she would obey. She didn’t want Him to leave again. She took a few steps down the hillside path before turning back. She met his gaze.

There He stood, watching her. Waiting for her to obey.

 

Has Jesus ever told you, “Stop clinging to Me”?
I have trouble, in the course of the day to think about Him, let alone cling to Him.
You say in all piousness, “It was easy to cling to Jesus back then. He was there in body.”
Was it? Where were all the others who could have clung to Him? His own disciples weren’t even there.

Mary had risen early to arrive at the tomb. Do we rise in the morning to attend to God’s desires?
Mary kept her focus inspite of unmoveable obstacles. She didn’t care who saw her weep. She must know where Jesus was.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
How quickly my focus shifts from knowing God to forgetting even His presence!

She wept over His loss. Do I even know what God is missing? (Not that He could miss anything.)

Jesus called her by name.
Then she knew. Her response, “Rabboni” was a title greater than Rabbi. It meant “my great Master.”
She was the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection, before He ascended to the Father to be her advocate, her mediator. He was ascending to her Father and her God.
She pursued God with a passion.

She was given a message, “Tell my disciples.”
When God comforts us, He expects we comfort others. We tell others.
Mary delivered the message. It was a message of restoration not confrontation. Remember all had forsaken Him. Some had even denied Him. But all were forgiven and restored.
She would see Him again. But she wanted His physical presence, He wanted to give her something more. He must go away in order to send His Spirit Who would give her inner peace.

Do we cling to Jesus?
Only when we see our great need, do we find our Savior’s love meeting that need. We cling.
Only in clinging, can we know Him for the God of compassion that He is.



What makes you cling to Jesus?
 

 

 

 

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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