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”).
Preoccupation with sorrow and disappointment is a mental merry-go-round. People get stuck in a rut and are unable to escape from it. It is easy to get consumed with the micro minutia of everyday life. Often, our ability to see becomes limited to what is immediately before us, and we become distracted. We cannot see the forest for the trees. We lose sight of the bigger picture of what’s really important. In light of this, could it be that our greatest fear should be the fear of succeeding at things in life that do not really matter?
So often, our ability to see is diminished and clouded because of our fixation and self-reflection. So it was with Mary. She failed to see and recognize the Lord Jesus Christ due to her grief, self-reflection, and preoccupation. We see only what we have the inward power of seeing (Westcott).
“From ancient times, the core idea of 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 connects 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).
After the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early. The stone rolled away, the tomb was empty, and His body was gone (John 20:1-2). She ran to get Peter and John. When the three of them returned, the tomb was empty (John 20:3-10). Grief-stricken, Mary waited outside in her grief (John 20:11). When Jesus Christ appeared, “she did not recognize that it was Jesus” (John 20:14). Instead, she thought that He was the gardener (John 20:15).
How is it even possible that Mary could not recognize the Lord Jesus Christ after she had spent so much time with Him? Her expectation colored her perception. She anticipated finding a tomb with the stone covering the entrance. Behind the stone would be a corpse. However, he was standing right in front of her. He was alive! He
How was she able to finally recognize Him? At the very moment the Lord Jesus Christ spoke her name, “Mary,” something suddenly clicked. She knew it was Him. Down through the millennia, when someone hears their name spoken by the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ, people recall the voice. Many of us remember the sound of our mother’s voice. We can never forget. Undoubtedly, that’s how it was with the Lord Jesus Christ and Mary.
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 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.
We should expect to see the Lord Jesus Christ and hear His voice as we walk through life. 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 for the eyes of your heart to be enlightened. This is Paul’s prayer for every child of the King.
18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.
It is common for people as they age to have cataract surgery. Over the years, their vision has become blurred and even discolored. Modern medical science has made the procedure quick and easy, and very safe, one done by the hands of an excellent eye surgeon. Our spiritual eyes are often blurred, and our spiritual eyesight is significantly diminished. Paul prays that the Father will perform spiritual surgery in order to sharpen our spiritual eyes.
© Dr. H 2022