Have you ever wondered if you’re loving Jesus enough? Or in the right way? For a glimpse into how others who knew Him best showed their love for Him, let’s take a look at the reaction of His closest friends – Mary, Simon Peter, John, and Thomas – during very confusing circumstances.
It was early morning. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb with some other women to embalm Jesus’s body. This is not something we all could do, but Mary clearly loved Him and saw it as a way to show her love. She was devastated when she saw His body wasn’t there, and she ran for help. When she came back to the tomb, weeping in grief and likely confusion, again she didn’t see Him. And then He showed up. He found her.
When Simon Peter and John heard her news that the tomb was empty, they raced each other to the tomb. In every race there is destined to be a winner and a loser. (Okay, sometimes there’s a tie!) In this race, Simon Peter won. Was it physical skill or sheer determination born from the regret of denying Jesus at such a crucial time just days before? We can only wonder. However, both disciples showed love and concern in their race to find Jesus. One was not better than the other because of how they finished that race, just different. They were both seeking Him. They didn’t see him in the tomb, but later that night, despite the closed doors of their room, He found them.
And then there was Thomas. No embalming for him. No racing to the tomb. The fact that Jesus showed up in a meeting with the other disciples wasn’t enough to convince him that Jesus was alive. He refused to believe them, and thus he refused to believe in the resurrection and a triumphant Jesus. But still, he remained with the others. His call as a disciple was still in place.
Then Jesus showed up again, in the flesh, nail holes and all. Who did He talk to? Thomas. This reality check was quite a gift to Thomas. But in the process, he was admonished. “Thomas, because you have seen me you have believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”
Four Christ-followers – all different, yet a bit like you and me. Sometimes we’re given situations that enable us to show our love for Him in a way that looks extraordinary, like Mary ready to help embalm Jesus. Sometimes we’re super fast, whether it looks like skill when it’s really fear, who knows but God and us? Other times, we come in second, and other times we come in last, holding back, our faith just not there even though we show up. Ah, yes, God disciplines those He loves. But oh, what love it is that seeks us out and gives us what we need. That example of real love is always there, showing up, guiding us, no matter our gifting, our skills, our fears, our doubts. That’s love in action.
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”