The Jesus Blind Spot
The nature of a blind spot is that you don’t see it. Have you looked back on a quick decision and wished you had done things differently? Of course, all of us have. No wonder we say “hindsight is 20/20.” Google defines “blind spots” as an area where a person’s view is obstructed.
Something To Talk About:
Blind spots by nature are hard to detect when they belong to you. They are much more evident to the onlooker. Mary is an example of having some blind spots on that first Easter:
- Mary’s Blind Spot: Grief: Mary Magdalene was one of the few present at the crucifixion. When the other disciples fled, she stayed by the cross. She then went with the body to the tomb for burial. She, grieving over the man who had become everything to her, who had been arrested, tortured, and crucified. When she went out again to His tomb on that first Easter morning, the unthinkable had happened. She found things had actually gotten worse. The body was now gone. She must have surmised it was the work of a grave robber, or that someone who wanted to desecrate the body. So why didn’t she see Jesus? Maybe her eyes were so swollen and filled with tears that she couldn’t see Jesus in the midst of her depression, grief, and sadness. That is not so unusual. Navigating through disappointment, betrayal, loss, death, sin, failure and trials involves heartache. It’s scary and messy. It requires us to feel our way through the sense of loss produced by suffering. In this process, God can seem distant. Your grief forms a blind spot. When Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33), He says we will endure suffering, yet our hope is not in what we experience on earth. Our hope is found in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ alone.
- Mary’s Blind Spot: Doubt: Another idea about Mary is that she couldn’t see Jesus was because it was hard for her to wrap her mind around believing this whole resurrection thing. She had personally witnessed His crucifixion. She had seen His battered, bleeding, dead corpse taken off the cross. Dead men don’t rise, so when He’s standing there in front of you, you don’t think it’s Him. And isn’t that true of a lot of us, too? Unbelief is a big deal. It keeps us from experiencing the power of God in our lives. Intellectual blind spots are probably the most common blind spot of all. We come to the conclusion that certain things can happen, and other things can’t. That some things are possible, and others are not. We tend to dismiss what we can’t understand. We need to understand that faith is required to see God powerfully activated in our lives.
- Mary’s Blind Spot: self-esteem: One last reason that some have thought might explain Mary’s inability to see Jesus is because of her sense of self-worth. Or lack of self-worth. She might have been thinking, “Why would Jesus present Himself to me? Why would He come to me? Why would I matter? He would never call my name.” It would be easy to see why Mary might have felt this way. And then there is us. When you’re a mess, you tend to think that God believes you’re a mess. A lot of us look at the sin and junk in our lives, the moral foul-ups, and stupid mistakes, and all we want to do when it comes to God is crawl in a hole somewhere. And we think that’s what God wants – for us to crawl in that hole as well. But that is not what Scripture says, and everything I know about the character of God: “He’s not mad at you – He’s mad about you.” And if you don’t get that you don’t get Jesus because that is the heart of God and the Christian faith. Psalm 103:17 “But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children” What tender love is revealed in His words. We are the apple of His eye, He rejoices over us, He sings over us, He abounds in love over us, He has the compassion of a Father over us, He delights over us…and this love is from everlasting to everlasting. What more solid proof can there be? God can not lie and God tells us in dozens of Scriptures that He loves those whom He calls His own.
- Put yourself in Mary Magdalene’s place. How would she feel alone at the tomb? How would you react when Jesus says your name?
- How can you tell if grief is causing a blind spot in your faith? Is it possible to grieve deeply and yet be trusting God fully?
- Jesus had predicted His own resurrection many times. His followers knew these predictions well. (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 27:62-64) Yet Mary Magdalene was still approaching the tomb as though Jesus would be in it. Are there any promises God has made to you in which you lack confidence or faith? Are there any areas of your life that reflect unbelief in what God has said He will do?
- What does it look like for you to love Jesus and to worship Him in spite of your unbelief, in spite of your uncertainty? What does it look like for you to continue “showing up,” even when you are disappointed that things haven’t turned out the way you hoped?
- Could you describe a moment in your life when God met you in your weakness and unbelief and showed you who He really is? Were you terrified, as Mary was? How did you respond?
- Read John 20:17: What is the first command given to Mary upon seeing that Jesus has risen? What might we learn from this command today?
- Doubt sometimes shows that we have faith. Agree or disagree and why? Doubt can lead us closer to God and help us grow in our faith. Agree or disagree and why?
- What do we need to do to be worthy of God?
- Why? How has the truth of the resurrection impacted you personally?
- What has convinced you of the reality of the risen Christ? How would you explain the reason for your faith to an unbeliever?
- How can we apply this message to our lives this week?
Take one thing home with you:
Mary is there in an empty tomb wondering where the body of Jesus was taken. Who would steal it? Why did they leave his grave clothes neatly folded on the slab? Now here’s a gardener – good – he might know. Maybe she is at the wrong tomb? Then she hears the gardener call her by her name. That’s weird. I didn’t introduce myself, did I? No… and then, why does that voice sound so familiar? It sounds like Jesus’ voice, but He died and that’s why I’m here but He’s alive.
She behaved as we would behave. She was incredulous, just like we would be if we were in her shoes. All the first-century witnesses were just as incredulous as we would be. The Bible is filled with human beings acting like rational human beings would react to the amazing revelation that God loves us enough to come to live amongst us, that He loved us enough to die in our place in order that we could have a relationship with Him.