April 16, 2021
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
We’ve spent this week looking at Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus. We’ve seen the power in hearing him call her name, and the power in his command for her to “go.” Today let’s look at how Mary goes to tell the disciples. Jesus had given her a very clear message to communicate. “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Mary opens her conversation with the disciples, not with the message Jesus gave her, but instead with the declaration that she had seen the Lord. Even as she communicates his message, we can see it framed in the context of personal experience. She told them that he had said these things to her.
In communicating in this very personal way, Mary puts her relationship and reputation on the line. The disciples, should they choose to disbelieve her, would have to instead believe that she was a liar, or crazy, or both. But they did not. Here’s the lesson for you and I in this story. We can try and use logic or argument to convince others of Jesus – in fact numerous books have been written on this premise. They are great books written by sincere authors who have researched and wrestled with the facts of Jesus’s existence and ministry. But those books and arguments will never carry the same weight as you putting your name and reputation on the line when telling the story of Jesus.
What if your response to someone’s incredulity was, instead of argument, the simple statement, “It is true, because I have seen it. I am not the person I was before I met Jesus.” It’s hard to counter that point in a conversation – especially if your life and relationship up to that point have demonstrated transformation. So if you struggle to share stories of faith, if you’ve tried to debate someone into belief and failed, try reclaiming the story of your personal encounter with Jesus. You don’t always need to convince someone of the gospel through logic. Sometimes your story is enough. This is why Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14-16:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”