The Easter Gospels communicate many important truths. Here’s one I overlooked until recently: How easy it is to miss Jesus when we don’t expect to see Him.
In John 20, Jesus is standing right in front of Mary but she doesn’t realize it is Him. At least one reason why? She didn’t expect to see Him there. “Where have you put Him?” Mary asks the One she thinks is a gardener. “He’s supposed to be in this tomb.”
In Luke 24, Jesus is walking right alongside the two on the road to Emmaus, talking with them about recent events. But they don’t realize it is Jesus. At least one reason why? They didn’t expect to see Him there. “Don’t you know what has happened?” they asked the One they think is just another traveler. “They killed Him 3 days ago in Jerusalem.”
And in John 21, once again Jesus is standing on the shore easily within sight of Peter and the others who are fishing. But they don’t realize it is Jesus. At least one reason why? They didn’t expect to see Him there. After all, who would expect Jesus to show up out of nowhere to cook breakfast?
But that’s the point. Since His resurrection from the dead, you just never know where Jesus will show up! He’s out of the tomb and on the loose pursing His Father’s mission! Seek Him and you will find Him. Expect Him and you will see Him.
· “Rabboni!” Mary cries out in recognition.
· “Were our hearts not burning?” the two ask in recognition.
· “It is the Lord!” the fishermen shout out in recognition.
A blinding flash of the obvious!
And here is a blinding flash of the obvious for us, too. As with Mary and Peter and the others, Jesus is regularly showing up right in front of us, as well. If we aren’t recognizing it is Jesus, there is probably at least one reason why. We aren’t expecting to see Him there! However, Jesus is regularly showing up in our vicinity, too, pursuing His Father’s mission in the lives of people around us. He invites us to expect Him. He invites us to join Him by seeking and finding the daily redemptive good He has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Whether we have the fun of recognizing Jesus showing up rests largely with whether we are expecting to see Him or not. How easy it is to miss Jesus when we don’t expect to see Him, but how simple it is to recognize Him when we do. A blinding flash of the obvious!
And what will Jesus look like when He shows up in our vicinity? How can we realize, “It is the Lord!” before the moment passes? Look at the people around you. What’s their name? What’s their story? Look for where a little grace can be applied in their life. That’s where Jesus is already present and working. “It is the Lord!”
Mary only saw a gardener. The two on the road saw just another traveler. Peter saw some guy on shore cooking. But in each case it was really Jesus.
When you look around today, who will you see? Someone having a bad day? Someone needing an extra ear or an extra hand? Someone in need of a little hope, a little grace, a little news that is good?
Jesus says, when you see that, “It is the Lord!”
You can expect it.