A few weeks ago, I had an interesting experience with the Savior.
I was watching the following video at church while waiting to baptize my 8 year old daughter:
From 2:30 to about 3:11, Mary is wondering what has happened, and a man asks her a question. She makes a request.
Prior to that Moment
Right up to this point, I was thinking, “Would I recognize the Savior if He stood before me? Mary didn’t. And she knew Him!
“He lived among the very people that was expecting Him, waiting for Him. They knew of Him. They knew of the prophecies, the scriptures, their prophets. The idea of Savior was not a foreign idea to them. And yet, the majority of them didn’t really recognize Him for who He was…even when He told them who he was. The majority of them rejected Him…especially when He told them he was the Savior that was foretold in the scriptures!
“And then, there were those who were following him, and believed Him to some degree. Then again, they didn’t really know what to expect. They probably thought they knew. He taught them about who he was, that he would die, and then live again. But, then, they didn’t really know what that meant. They didn’t know the reality of what he was telling them. They were expecting a Savior, but they weren’t really completely sure what that meant either. They had their own idea, from a mortal, earthly, and maybe even political perspective…but to truly understand what ‘Savior’ and ‘live again’ meant? Nothing had ever happened before that could prepare them for what would happen….and what was happening right before their very eyes.
“They didn’t recognize what was really happening…especially when He died.
“And Mary didn’t recognize who was really speaking to her, right then and there, in front of her.”
And how about us now? We, Christians, who are expecting a Savior? We, Christians, who think we know what we’re expecting…from all the scriptures we study, from all the teachers who’ve taught us, from all the church sermons we’ve heard, the talks we’ve given, the books we’ve read. We, Christians, who see the world differently from the rest of the world.
They laugh at us. They tell us we’re foolish to believe in such “bedtime stories”. They tell us that we’re believing in fairy tales. They see this “Christ”, this “God”, as some sort of mythical, mystical, mental concoction. Some product of a frenzied mind. That is who they expect this “Christ” to be. And, then, they turn around and give us their Hollywood stories of their own versions of gods and saviors, these comic book creations of superheroes, mutants, and mixtures and myths of god-like men…creations after their own imaginations. Yes, in a way, to mock the very Savior they despise.
And yet, we, Christians, are expecting…longing…yearning…for this Savior to prove them all wrong. We want Him to show up…now…and deliver us from all this madness…this craziness…the burdens of this world. We want all this gone now. We want our Savior. Badly.
And the world looks on, mockingly, sneeringly, smugly…saying, “See? He’s not coming. ‘Cause He’s not real!”
And, so, if He did come…to all of us Christians who are looking for Him, who believe in Him…would we recognize Him? Would we recognize Him if he came now…right in front of us? Could we claim to know Him intimately enough to be able to recognize Him when that time comes?
Again, those who followed him in person…back in his day…who knew him more intimately than we do now…they didn’t recognize Him at the very instant He showed himself to them. And the rest of the Jews that rejected him? They weren’t ready to see Him either….and never got the privilege of seeing the Savior who rose from the grave, not as a ghost, but as a Resurrected Being….an immortal God.
All of these thoughts swirled in my mind as I watched this depiction…up to 3:11.
And right when the Savior said, “Mary,” her expression changed….into one of Recognition. Only someone who knew her–closely, lovingly, tenderly–would call her name…call her…that way. She knew who He was! She recognized Him! It was Him!
And it was at this moment that the tears began to stream down my face.
And a quiet voice spoke to my thoughts, as if to say, “I know who you are. I know your struggles. I know the desires of your heart. I know what you’re longing for, the yearnings, the frustrations you have, the challenges you’re facing. I know your name. I know your heart. I know you more than you realize.
“And when I call you…by your name…,you’ll recognize me, too. Eventually, you’ll learn to see me. And when you do, you’ll know it’s Me. Until then, keep looking for Me in everything you do, in everything you see, in every place you go, in every person you meet….for you never really know whether or not it’s me, until I reveal myself to you. Learn to see my Hand…before you can expect to see my Face.”
“I will call you by your name. And you will know it’s me. You’ll know.”
For those of us who aren’t ready to see Him, that will truly be an eye-opener.
And for those of us who long to see Him…that will truly be…
A Moment with our Savior.