Get Close to Jesus - Encouragement Café - June 19, 2017

Get Close to Jesus
By Carolyn Dale Newell

Monday, June 19, 2017

“Now on 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.” John 20:1 NKJV

Christians cherish an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, but are we willing to go the extra mile to achieve it? Let’s dissect this verse to see how Mary kept her love for Christ fervent.

Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the risen Christ. Jesus had cast seven demons from her, and Mary became a devout follower. Demons plagued their victims with disease, deformity, or various types of insanity.

Perhaps Mary harmed herself while under demonic control. The Bible does not shed light on this, but people would have avoided her, making Mary an outcast. 

She was hopeless, but then came Jesus! Jesus transformed Mary’s life.

Mary watched in horror as Jesus was nailed to the cross. Several women, including Mary, headed toward the tomb (Luke 24:1-2). Only one thing occupied Mary’s mind, getting to Jesus. She ran ahead of the crowd.

Do we eagerly run toward Jesus like Mary Magdalene?

These ladies started early. What time do we seek Jesus? My day flows better when I start it with the Lord early in the morning. Do we check in with Jesus before checking Facebook or our email?

What if we shared our morning coffee with Jesus?

Next, darkness covered Mary’s path, even though other gospels describe the time as sunrise. Sunrise has various shades from darkness to violet and amber. 

Many theologians believe the Mount of Olives may have blocked the first beams of daylight. Most people prefer to visit a grave during the daylight.

Mary overcame the fear created by the darkness.  What could darkness represent in our lives? What can we overcome in order to have quiet time or attend Sunday night service? What things or people do we allow to get in our way?

Finally, Mary arrived at the tomb, but it wasn’t what she expected. Her heart must have sunk when she realized the stone was rolled away.  Still grieving the loss of her Lord, now Mary feared His body had been stolen.

Sadness overwhelmed Mary. Tears fell at the thought of never recovering the body of her beloved Lord.

All the while, Jesus had risen. Mary just did not realize it yet. At times, things get worse before they get better.

We think Jesus has forgotten us, but He is working, in the background.

We are clueless as to what wonders Jesus has for us. We may face darkness, terrified and afraid, but Jesus has a plan.

Jesus says, “Mary.” When He speaks our names, we know. We recognize His voice.  Mary responded, calling Him “Master.”  The woman who had been demon possessed was now given the honor of seeing Christ first on Resurrection Day.

That is grace. Grace is available to each Christian.

Nothing stopped Mary, and now she stood face-to-face with Jesus. She outpaced the other women. She braved the darkness. Fear, nor grief, could keep Mary from Jesus.

Friend, we need to strive like Mary. Make sacrifices. Go the distance. Step out from the crowd, yes, even the Christian crowd. That is when you will find Jesus.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV

Read John 20:1-18. Prayerfully consider what you need to do to draw near to Jesus.

Lord Jesus, I want a deeper relationship with You. Show me what I must do to accomplish that. Help me from getting sidetracked. Show me the way, and keep me on it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Carolyn Dale Newell.  All rights reserved.

Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?  Pull up a chair… He’s been waiting for you.

Need a refill?  Please join us at the Encouragement Café with Luann and Friends

The conversation at the Café is always hot and fresh.  We invite you to listen inas we gather around the table to discuss everyday life.

Comfort food for your soul is always on our menu, and friends are always close enough to hug.  We invite you to join us daily, as our writer’s share how the Lord continues to transform them into His glorious image.

Still craving more…Join us as we grow together in grace and truth through our online bible study.       

Stop by Encouragement Café and listen as the girls share life. Find podcasts, videos, Bible studies, prayer, resources and daily helpings of hope, laughter and friendship around our table. We've saved a seat just for you!

Originally published Monday, 19 June 2017.