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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Passion for Jesus – Part 5

“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” – Mark 14:9

Passion is a driving force, a deep emotion in the heart, a fire in the belly, a heart aflame. Everyone is passionate about something or someone. But how many have a passion for Jesus? A passion for Jesus begins with Jesus’ forgiveness for our sin. It involves thanks for His living hope. It climaxes in the atonement of Christ. Now we will see it is confirmed in the resurrection.

We also said that passion for Jesus based on popularity, politics, provision, self-promotion, or pride will not stand the test of time; it will only be a Palm Sunday passion.

In John 20, three days after the passion of Jesus on the cross, we learn that a passion for Jesus clings to the resurrected Lord. Let’s unwrap this final passage.

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

Mary Magdalene had been freed of seven demons by Jesus (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). She had been forgiven much and therefore loves Jesus much (cf. Luke 7:47; Prov. 8:17). Her passion for Jesus began with the forgiveness for her sins that she had received. Some commentators think that Mary Magdalene is the unnamed woman of Luke 7 who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears. This is possible.  
Mary, “went to the tomb early.” Early; she wasted no time; she did not delay; she was not lackadaisical or procrastinating. She was last to be with Jesus at the cross (19:25). She was first to seek Him out (even if it was only to minister to what she thought was His dead body). If you want a passion for Jesus, He must be the top priority, the first thing in your life.

2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

See the passion of Mary Magdalene for Jesus, even in regards to His dead body. A passion for Jesus persists even when all seems lost. The fire was still burning in her even though she thought Jesus dead.

3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

The resurrection can have a powerful impact in leading people to believe in Jesus. There is a progression of faith here. First, in verse 5, the word “saw” is translated from the Greek blepo which is to physically visibly observe. Second, in verse 6, the word “saw” is translated from the Greek theoreo which is to look at more carefully, and study more closely. We get the term theory from this Greek word. Third, in verse 8 the word “saw” is translated from the Greek term eido, which means to understand, idea – in other words they came to an “I get it!” moment. They saw physically, pondered what they saw, and finally began to understand the evidence.

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Two angels, one at the head, one at the foot of the blood stained stone bed where Jesus’ dead body had laid. This is a picture of The Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant: Two angels at either end of the mercy seat where the blood of sacrifice was sprinkled for atonement. The Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant therefore, as a type,  is fulfilled here as it speaks of the empty tomb of Jesus – the Resurrection. 

13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

“They have taken away my Lord.” A passion for Jesus sees Jesus as “My” personal Lord. Do you know Jesus personally? Do you have a relationship with Him; a personal, saving relationship with Jesus as your Lord? Is Jesus, “My Lord,” to you?

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

You or I, seeing two angels, may have stared or been transfixed on these otherworldly beings. Not May; she was only concerned about her Jesus. When you have a passion for Jesus, He is the most important One; even more important than angels.

15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

As a woman, and Jesus as a carpenter’s son (a construction worker), she was probably much smaller than Jesus. Yet, she was willing to carry Jesus back to where she thought He belonged. “Love bears all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). A passion for Jesus “bears all things.” Are you willing to bear burdens for the Lord?

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

There was something in the tone of Jesus voice that revealed who He was to Mary. When you have a passion for Jesus, you know His voice. Jesus said His sheep hear and know His voice (John 10:16, 27). He also said those who are of the truth hear His voice (John 18:37). Do you know the voice of Jesus?

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

Why did Jesus tell Mary to “Do not cling to Me”? Because she was clinging to Jesus; a passion for Jesus clings to Jesus in light of the resurrection. The word “cling” (Present/Middle /Imperative of  ἅπτομαι haptŏmai, hap´-tom-ahee) means a persistent clinging, to attach oneself to, to adhere to, or to fasten oneself to something. Mary had Jesus in a life grip. She thought she had lost her Jesus. Now He was alive and here again. She wasn’t going to risk losing Him again. A passion for Jesus holds on to the risen Jesus and won’t let go!

Think of the most precious and beloved person in your life. Think of what it would be like to lose them to death. Then think of how it would be to find them alive again. That’s what happened to Mary. A passion for Jesus holds onto Jesus with all your might. A passion for Jesus holds onto Jesus and won’t let go. A passion for Jesus holds onto Jesus as the most precious and dear loved one.  A passion for Jesus holds onto Jesus like an embrace for one that has come back from the dead. Do you hold on to Jesus like that?

Jesus referred to the apostles as “My brethren,” or “My brothers.” He said earlier that they were no longer merely His servants but His friends (John 15:5). Now He calls them “brothers.” In Hebrews it states Jesus is not ashamed to call His followers “brothers” (Heb. 2:8). Can Jesus call you His “friend,” His “brother,” or “sister”? Do you know Jesus?

Something else of interest takes place here. Rabbis at the time of Jesus used to say, “It is better that the words of the law be burned than to be entrusted to a woman, . . . .”[1] Yet Jesus commissioned Mary as a missionary to His disciples. What does this tell us? Having a passion for Jesus qualifies you to be used by Jesus to share the gospel.

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

She just couldn’t contain the truth that Jesus was alive, raised from the dead. How about you, does your passion for Jesus cause you to run and tell others about Jesus? Or are you holding back the truth of His resurrection? When you have a passion for Jesus you can’t not tell others about Him.

To summarize, when we therefore look at A Passion for Jesus’ Resurrection we see:

  • A passion for Jesus seeks Jesus early – 21:1
  • A passion for  Jesus  persists even when all seems lost – 21:2
  • A passion for Jesus sees, studies and understands – 21:3-10
  • A passion for Jesus flows out of  the mercy (seat) of God – 21:11-12
  • A passion for Jesus sees Jesus as “my” personal Lord – 21:13
  • A passion for Jesus sees Jesus as the priority; the most important Person; even more important than angels – 21:14
  • A passion for Jesus “bears all things” – 21:15
  • A passion for Jesus hears and knows His voice – 21:16
  • A passion for Jesus clings to the resurrected Jesus – 21:17
  • A passion for Jesus tells others about the resurrected Jesus – 21:18

 So I ask once more, based on what we have seen so far, do you have a passion for Jesus?


[1]Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 595

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