Episode #99 Mary Magdalene and Recognizing Relational Jesus – Noticing God

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From Today's Episode:

Welcome! We're in our Noticing God Series and today's topic is Mary Magdalene and Recognizing Relational Jesus.


John 20:1-2,11-16

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God, please talk with me and show me that you know me.

Here's the episode transcript

Hey friends. We're continuing in this series on noticing God in scripture. And today I'm reading for us from John chapter 20. This is after Jesus resurrects from the dead. And there's a variety of things that I love about this passage of scripture. But today we're specifically focusing on how Jesus was present there with Mary, but it took her a little bit to notice him there.

Now, I feel like Mary deserves quite a bit of credit here because Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
She went from a place of mourning.

She went weeping to visit his tomb and then he wasn't there. She's trying to navigate this very unfamiliar context, but even in her interactions with Jesus, it takes her a little bit to recognize that he's actually the one present with her.
And I find encouragement in this because there are times in my own life—and I think probably for you too—when God is there present with us, but we don't always recognize him.

It takes us a little bit to notice him. And that can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe it's the circumstances that we're navigating, or the context that we're coming in, or even just our awareness, our expectation or anticipation or how we're feeling about what we're walking through. And as we'll see here in this passage, Jesus is gracious with her. He is not impatient.

He takes the time to interact with Mary and show her who he is. And so I'm going to pick up reading for us. This is John 20:1-2,11-16.

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’” (John 20:1-2)

And so the disciples go and inspect the tomb, and then return to their homes.

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” John 20:11-16

So here Mary Magdalene is in the throes of grief. She's weeping, she is searching for Jesus's body. She thinks someone has taken him away. That's the context of her circumstance. And even after interacting with the angels and then speaking with Jesus, she did not recognize that he was risen from the dead. But it's when he calls her name that she recognizes that it's Jesus resurrected.

This part of the passage really jumped out at me today for a few different reasons. I think sometimes I can go into certain environments, contexts, circumstances, and just not anticipate Jesus to be there like I would in other circumstances.

Another way that I see myself approaching opportunities to connect with God in the same way is by misunderstanding who he is in that moment. Sure, maybe I see him there with me, like Mary saw Jesus standing there, but she supposed he was the gardener.

There are times when I can know, I can be aware of God here with me, but I can forget what that means.

I can forget that the God who created the universe, who is God and Lord of all, above all, the King of Kings is there present with me in my circumstance. I can forget that the one who knows me better than I know myself, the one who loves me with an everlasting love is there present with me. And so I respond to him differently because I've supposed he's different than he actually is.

God is present as much with me when I'm learning self-control, when I'm receiving grace, and when I'm extending grace, when I'm overcoming frustrations, when I'm apologizing to my children, when I'm cleaning my house, as He is when I'm sitting down with my Bible open. And God is always the same.

I love that Jesus pulled back the blinders that were over Mary's eyes to help her see that it was him, by calling her by name.

A random gardener wouldn't have known her name, but Jesus knew her. And so today our question for God is more of a request than a question for him to answer, but it's a request that he delights to respond to.

And so we're going to ask him,

God, please talk with me and show me that you know me.

Maybe he'll call you by name. Maybe he'll bring to remembrance something that he's told you before. Something that's personal between the two of you. Maybe he'll talk with you about a circumstance that you're in and show you how he is there with you. Ask God the question and linger for what he wants to tell you. God knows you too.

God, please talk with me and show me that you know me.

Have a good talk.

And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!

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