Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Devotional by Laura Thomas: The Easter Sheep

The Easter Sheep
A devotional by Laura Thomas

Picture a garden. A cave. A large stone. And a woman crying—weeping uncontrollably, actually—for she had lost someone very special. Someone she would never forget.

Mary Magdalene had encountered Jesus many moons prior, back when he delivered her from demons—that’s something you don’t forget in a hurry—and she promptly became one of His devoted followers. She had been there at the cross where He was murdered, and now her heart was breaking at the empty tomb. Jesus’ body had been taken, and it was the last straw for her fragile nerves.

She was so caught up in her grief, her eyes so blurred by tears, her heart so crushed, that she failed to recognize Jesus outside the tomb.

“At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
~ John 20:14-15 (NIV)

She thought he was the gardener.

Her Savior was gone and she was devastated…until Jesus made Himself known to her.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’”
~John 20:16a (NIV)

He called her by name.

In John chapter 10, Jesus talks of Himself as being the Good Shepherd, One who would lay down His life for His sheep. The sheep would be us, you guys. Granted, not the smartest of creatures; they tend to wander off and get lost, and are in need of constant guidance. But they are also highly treasured by their shepherd. Loved. Protected. Cared for. Verse 3 (in John chapter 10) says, “He calls his own sheep by name”… just as Jesus called Mary by name. And He calls me by name. And He calls you by name.

At His resurrection, Jesus could have appeared to whomever He wanted—crowds, leaders, cities…but He chose to appear to one of His sheep first. It was personal and so typically Jesus in its simple beauty.

And Mary’s joy was complete! Can you imagine? As soon as Jesus spoke her name, she was safe again. Her Good Shepherd hadn’t deserted her in any way—He was fully there, calling her name, and she no longer grieved. She may not have fully comprehended the theological ramifications of the resurrection, but Her Lord was alive and that was enough! Is that enough for us?

This regular woman with a tainted past was given the honor of being the very first person to herald the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the world! That’s quite something, isn’t it? We have also been given the same message to proclaim to the world—that’s quite something, too!

It’s timeless and true. A message of redemption and restoration.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

As we ponder the path leading up to Easter, remember how personal the message of salvation is. Jesus died for us as individuals. He conquered death so that each of us might have eternal life. He did it for you. He did it for me. And He calls us by name, just as He called to Mary.

He really loves His sheep. I pray that we won’t be too busy or distracted wandering in other pastures to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice this Easter.

Author bio:
Laura is a published Christian author with a heart for inspiring and encouraging readers of all ages. 

She is truly multi-genre—with a published Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, children’s stories, devotionals for Union Gospel Press, musings on her blog, and she now has a literary agent representing her Christian romantic suspense novel. 

Laura is English and Canadian, married to her high school sweetheart, mom of three, passionate about faith and family…and chocolate!

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