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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

John 20

If the bible were a myth, especially the story about Jesus’ resurrection, John would not tell us that Mary was the first eye witness to the resurrection (20:1-18). In that culture, women were not considered to be credible witnesses to an event. They were considered inferior to men. Yet, God chooses a woman named Mary Magdalene to be the first witness to the greatest, most life-altering event in the history of the word- the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact that John’s Gospel notes that Mary was the first witness, for a culture that would not have accepted her witness, is one of the many compelling proofs that the bible is genuine and written as historical fact and not mythic fiction.

God is constantly surprising us with who he picks to serve his purposes. It’s odd that he would choose Mary to spread the word that she saw the risen Jesus. If I were God, I would make sure Jesus appeared to somebody far more important like Pilate or Ceasar or the High Priest. But Mary? Come on!

But God has a track record of selecting the most unlikely people to serve his purposes in this world. If he can use a former alcoholic, high school drop-out, nobody like me to serve his purposes, he can use anyone. What is God wanting to do through your life? You may deem yourself unworthy of service to God and, in some way, we are all unworthy. The good news is that he loves us and invites us to partner with him to redeem the world, despite our unworthiness. His love, not our adequacies, makes us worthy.

I suspect that God will call you and me, like he called Mary, to embody and proclaim the news that Jesus Christ is alive and well, and that he is the most lovingly powerful force in all the world!


Anonymous said...

I love that Jesus constantly stretches the hearts and minds of his followers. God chose a "motley crew" to reveal himself to from the beginning: an unborn baby (John), the poor, likely uneducated (shepherds), the old and likely dying (Simeon), another old, and female to boot(Anna), a few gentiles (the Magi), and his earthly caretakers (Mary and Joseph). He reveals his true identity first to a Samaritan woman of questionable reputation, and, once again, reveals his glorified state first to a woman. A strange and assorted bunch to have the inside scoop. His life on earth was brief; he knew his time had come. What did he do? He demonstrated how to fulfill the new command, i.e., "to love as I have loved." He washed his disciples' feet; he served them bread and wine; he shared what was in his heart; he prayed for us; he sang a hymn with his spiritual children (Scripture tells us they likely sang Ps.118; I just learned this evening, that Ps 118 is the exact middle chapter in the entire Bible--the center, if you will.) Then he headed for the cross. I like to think that I'd have been a receptive vessel eagerly following this God/man. But, I'm here, now. What am I doing with this gift I've been given--to know Christ? "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Anonymous said...

I inadvertantly stated that scripture tells us that the hymn they sang the night before Jesus was crucified was likely Ps. 118--the commentaries suggest that is the case based on Passover tradition. I'm sorry for the slip. This journey through John and the insights of you, Lenny, and others, have both inspired me and challenged me. My heart's desire is to please God in all that I say and do and think.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Hello "Anonymous." You do a great job of capturing the many places in the Gospels where Jesus uses "motley" folks like us to carry out his purposes. This is, as you point out, especially pronounced in the Christmas story. I preached a sermon this year during Advent called "God is Odd." The details surrounding the Christmas Story really highlight the peculiar, but profound, ways in which God decides to get the word out and the job done.

Maria Cicala said...

Its such a privilege to be picked by Jesus to do the work he calls us to do,I want to always be listening to what he wants me to do. When I do what he calls me to do what a blessing I receive from him.Like a song says: "I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God" I've been washed in the fountain cleansed by his blood. Joint Heirs with Jesus as we travel this trod I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!"

Roberta said...

The thing that stands out to me about Jesus picking Mary Magdalene to be the first witness is how much he loved her. What a tender way to show her how important she was to him. He elevated her and gave her credibility to those around her who looked down to her and despised her for her past sins. It was a powerful way to tell the world that Mary Magdalene mattered to him

Dave Dion said...

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Cor. 4:7 KJV(to the degree that in any aspect, element or with any misplaced overstated amplification of use by The Master we should at any moment in time receive credit for His Workmanship threw us according to Eph. 2:10).