Where in the world is Jesus? Reflection on John 20:1-18

Where have they taken my Lord? We contemplate the answer to this question. We are led to accept an inherited theology which answers the question for us. We are then challenged to conform to some idealistic way of thinking regarding the resurrection and expected to experience the rebirth of God in the same way. Perhaps another way to phrase the question maybe, “Where is Jesus in the middle of our discovery?”

I do not believe that our faith sustains each of us with a spiritual experience that is already laid out and defined for us. We are not an “assembly line” people of faith. Our spiritual life is made new when we encounter this thing called resurrection. That is, our Lord has come back to us. What once was dead is now alive. Our faith is carried out with our own relationship to this text from the Gospel of John, and how that relationship changes and renews us.

Mary was so caught up in her grief that her Lord was stolen that she couldn’t even identify the man standing right in front of her as Jesus. She couldn’t identify Him until He spoke into her life. He spoke her name.

Many of us identify with this passage. We are like Mary. It is hard to accept the miraculous in our lives. Maybe it’s because we have been wounded to the point that we cannot imagine that such a wonderful event, the spark of the Divine, could ever be revealed in our own lives. Maybe we are so cynical that we can’t even entertain the notion of some divine presence ever revealing itself to the world, much less to us individually. Maybe we are tired of trying to seek God. We have not heard the answer.

Folks, God is alive and in front of you. The Divine can be made known to you in many forms. Maybe you are still in darkness. I am talking a spiritual hell of which you feel that you are trapped. Perhaps you have taken a detour on your path that has taken you to do and say things that you could never have imagined you would do and say. Whatever that is for you, maybe for a second or even a moment, you catch a glimmer of hope. The spark of Divine light rises from the pit of your gut as you begin to hear a still small voice say, “Maybe there is a way out of this.” That is the voice of God.

There are many people who can tell me exactly how and why they came to a moment where they experienced the presence of the resurrected Christ. It was real and alive. It took your breath away. You know that you have given your life over to the care of God. It was amazing.

Maybe there are those of you who are still searching for the promise of a renewal of spirit.
Look around at the people in your life and see living testimonies to the love of God. What were people who were spiritually dead are now reborn.

Now, let us return to the idea of resurrection. Well, I can’t explain it to you. I can present the pages on which the story of our text from John unfolds and tell you that I experience the resurrection on a daily basis. That is my story. That God speaks rebirth into my life every day. The resurrection calls to us. It tells us that Jesus was crucified, died, and rose again for us. The idea of hope and the sense of a second chance pull us in to a relationship with God. We turn to God as the source of salvation. We depend on God and the gift of grace which is freely given to us. The gift of redemption is all about the Divine presence which unfolds itself into the world. The best and only thing that we can do is respond to this message. There is no cookie cutter answer here. It is an individual journey that is between humanity and God.

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belen in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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