At Jesus’ empty tomb, Mary Magdalene mistook Him for a gardener until He said her name. Two disciples regarded Jesus as just another traveler going toward Emmaus until He blessed and broke bread for them. Peter and half a dozen companions only recognized the Risen Lord after a miraculous catch of fish. What happens when we look for the Lord only in certain times and places?
Martha, Mary, and Lazarus welcomed Jesus, with Mary anointing His feet and drying them with her hair. At supper with the Disciples, Jesus foretold that Peter would deny Him three times, yet the Lord also washed Peter’s feet that day in a task done by servants. Pontius Pilate wanted to release Jesus and found His willingness to suffer Crucifixion mystifying. Although we may fail to understand the Lord’s ways, why do we ever feel misunderstood by Him?
Jesus saved a woman caught in adultery from stoning by saying that anyone without sin should hurl the first rock. Declaring His Divinity, Jesus narrowly escaped stoning, too. Raising Lazarus from the dead caused chief priests and Pharisees to fear losing their authority. Jesus taught that the truth sets people free. Do we consciously and freely try to stay true to our faith through works and words that glorify God?
Without asking Mary and Joseph, 12-year-old Jesus stayed in Jerusalem after the Passover festival. Back home in Nazareth, He grew up in obedience to them. After curing a man on the Sabbath, Jesus revealed that His Father had given Him authority, not only to heal, but to judge. How can we remain open to God’s will if we pray only for a miracle?
When Naaman sought cleansing from leprosy, he got angry because the prophet Elisha sent him to wash in the muddy Jordan, rather than a clearer river or stream in Damascas. When Peter asked if he had to forgive as many as seven times, Jesus suggested seventy-seven. To love God wholeheartedly includes loving neighbors who keep the Spirit within them rather well hidden. Finding it hard to lovingly forgive, do we ask God for clearer understanding?
Boxes called phylacteries contained written Scripture readings, and tassels on clothes served as reminders to obey the Commandments. Scribes and Pharisees made theirs big. Jesus had just said that He would suffer condemnation and death when the mother of James and John asked that her sons have places of honor beside Him in glory. Parables described a rich man ignoring dire need right outside his door, and a prodigal son returning home. When judging others, how often do we use “apparently,” rather than “actually”?
At the second coming of the Lord, He will separate people according to how they treated others because, for better or worse, He takes such treatment personally. Babbling on and on in prayer doesn’t convince God, who always knows what people need. When we long for a sign from God, looking in Scripture will provide many! Jesus pointed out the Old Testament example of people in Nineveh heeding Jonah’s warning to repent or perish. If we choose to turn away from people or refuse to turn from our less-than-loving ways this Lent, how can we face tRead More