Mary, still literally in the dark, sees the stone taken away from the tomb where her beloved friend was laid. Given the low sunlight – the sun had probably just cracked the horizon – she probably could not see into his cave-like tomb. She assumes, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb…” (John 20:1)
Mary’s assumption was reasonable enough. Imagine you were at a cemetery walking up to the grave of your loved one. You see a pile of dirt next to a hole where you know your loved one was laid to rest, but you have not yet moved close enough to peer in. What might you assume? You might assume someone took the body. Mary did. She did not know better.
The darkness, in John’s Gospel, signifies something more than the early hour. We all, like Mary, start in the dark. We all, like Mary, start with assumptions about who this Jesus really is. In John’s gospel, people have been making all sorts of assumptions about Jesus. Some called him “the Prophet (John 6:14).” Others called him the Christ without yet knowing what that title meant (for example, John 7:31). Still others said he had a demon or was insane (John 10:20).
What Jesus gives us is always better than what we could accomplish on our own. When Jesus turned water into wine, the servers brought a tasting of it to the master of the feast. When the wine touched his lips, the master of the feast was astonished. He did not know where this wine actually came from. He was under the impression it came from the bridegroom’s reserves. So, he calls over the bridegroom and says: “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:10)
Wine carries powerful symbolic significance in the Bible. It certainly carries the negative symbolism of foolish inebriation, but it also carries the positive symbolism of joy and celebration.
Many Bible readers gloss over the end of Paul’s letters. Filled with strange names and seemingly disconnected details, you might be tempted skip over them. Yet, these letter endings give a sneak peek into the relational inner workings of the early church. Continue reading
Are you still growing in Christ? In the eighties, a popular book came out titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I mean no disrespect to that book, but a similarly titled book ought never be written about Christianity, All I Really Need to Know About God I Learned in Sunday School. We are to be continuously growing in our knowledge of God. Continue reading