In this week, each devotion will look at how things appear from Jesus’ perspective. As we move towards Easter, it is often a time where we focus on the cross and resurrection. This time we want to look at Jesus’ thoughts after He rose from the dead (His thoughts will be written in italics). We will be looking at His interactions with people in Scripture, exploring what they tell us about how we ought to live. His death and resurrection was the catalyst for us to live transformed, victorious lives.
Read John 20:11-18. Highlighted verse: John 20:16 – “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).”
“Do you remember when they put guards at my tomb, but no earthly means could hold me down? Neither could any spiritual power hold me down. I was raised to life again with power. My first interaction was with Mary, a woman who had been so helpful in my ministry. I wanted her to know that I am the Good Shepherd. I never left her alone.
“I want everyone to know that they can come to me, that life is found in me. My interaction with her reveals my compassion that I have for all of you. I know you; I know your needs; I am deeply aware and mindful of you. Just as I called out to Mary and revealed myself to her, I want to show you my goodness and grace in every moment of every day. You may not always understand what is going on around you, but you must know that I am good. Everything I do comes out of my good nature, and as I said through Jeremiah, ‘I will rejoice in doing them good’ (Jer 32:41). Take any thought captive that comes your way that says that I am not good.
“In a world of hopelessness and fear, I am the Good Shepherd that will lead my sheep to abundant life, if they would follow me. Why are my children so anxious? Why is there such panic? Do you not know that following me allows you to see above the fear and anxiety? Fix your eyes on me and you will face each situation with grace, hope and joy. I have given you something greater to fix your minds on. Do not look at the things that are around you, look at me. If you do, you will be able to persevere, even in the most difficult of situations. This is why I came to earth, to make a way for you to have everlasting life, to be one with me and the Father and to overcome.”
The commandment we find most in Scripture is “Do not fear,” or a variation thereof. In each Gospel, one of the first things Jesus said when He appeared to people was “Do not fear” or “Peace be to you” (Matthew 28:10; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:36; John 20:19). In light of Jesus’ victory over sin and death, the hope of the resurrection is what allows us to overcome whatever challenges we face in this world.
With everything that is going on, the words of Barbara Brown Taylor may help us gain some perspective:
“We do not lose control of our lives. What we lose is the illusion that we were ever in control in the first place.”
Questions for reflection:
- Do you believe His Word and promises? Do you believe that He is good?
- What is your go-to scripture in times of worry or anxiety?
- How can you develop hearing from the Good Shepherd?
- Are you able to follow Him and be led by Him? If not, what is hindering you?
- If you had a face-to-face interaction with Jesus, like Mary did, what would He be saying to you personally about how you are looking at your situations?
- What are you focused on/consumed by during these tough times?