Preoccupation limits seeing
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. – John 20:14
13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.
15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“From ancient times, the core idea of the soul is the soul is the capacity to integrate different functions into a single being or into a single person. The soul is what holds us all together: what connects our will and our minds and our bodies and c him him onnects us to God.”
A healthy soul is whole and integrated. It is connected to God. A person with a healthy soul is at peace with God, with himself, and with other people. When the soul is understood and attended to, we can be liberated from hurry, preoccupation, unsatisfied desires, and chronic discontent” (John Ortberg).
So often our ability to see is clouded because of our preoccupation and inward self-reflection. Mary failed to see and recognize Jesus due to her grief, self-reflection, and preoccupation. We see only that which we have the inward power of seeing (Westcott).
After Jesus’s death, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning and found the stone rolled away and His body gone (John 20:1-2). She ran to get Peter and John, who returned with her to find the tomb empty (John 20:3-10). But Mary lingered outside in her grief (John 20:11). When Jesus appeared there, “she did not realize that it was Jesus” (John 20:14), thinking He was the gardener (John 20:15) (Elisa Morgan).
How is it even possible that Mary could not recognize the Lord Jesus Christ after spending so much time with Him? Perhaps, she simply was unable to see what she was not expecting to see. She anticipated that she would find a tomb with the stone covering the entrance. Behind the stone would be a dead body. Yet, He was alive! He was standing right in front of her.
How was she able to finally recognize Him? The moment she heard the Lord Jesus Christ speak her name, “Mary,” she knew it was Him. Somehow or another, down through the ages, once someone hears their name spoken by the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ, they remember Their voice. I remember exactly how it sounds when my mother my name or my wife calls my name.
REFLECT & PRAY
How often do we only see what we only want to see? Daily events, preoccupation, and the vicissitudes of life often obscure what the Father is trying to reveal to us.
Father give me discernment to see the Lord Jesus Christ with the eyes of my heart. Enable me to discern Your guidance and to recognize whatever You desire to teach me.
How do treasury agents learn to detect counterfeit money? You would think the answer is simple, study counterfeit money to become aware of its characteristics. But in fact, it is just the opposite.
Treasury agents become very, very familiar with the characteristics of real money. One treasury agent summarizes the approach with the phrase, “touch, tilt, look at, look through.”
And so it is with the children of the King. The more we get to know the real thing, the real Lord Jesus Christ, the more we develop protective discernment against counterfeits.
This does not happen overnight. It takes practice, determination, and experience.
Hebrews 5:14 Those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
As we walk through life, we should expect to see the Lord Jesus Christ and hear His voice. The more familiar and acquainted we become with Him, the more we see Him.
In the Gospel of John, some outsiders, probably Gentiles, came to worship. They had undoubtedly heard the stories about the Lord Jesus Christ, and they were excited to meet and spend time with Him. They came to Philip.
John 12:21 “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
If you wish to see the Lord Jesus Christ, pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened to be enabled to do so. This is Paul’s prayer for all the Father’s children.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.