As I was reading in chapter 20 of the book of John, I noticed that there are three types of encounters with Christ;
Jesus appears to Mary and He gives her a Message.
Jesus appears to the disciples and gives them a Mission.
Jesus appears to Thomas and gives him a Mandate.
Let's take a look at each one:
Jesus meets Mary Magdalene early in the morning in the tomb as she's standing there lost in grief. He shows Himself to her, but she doesn't recognize Him, so He calls her by name, thrilled at the sight of Him she wants to hold on and not let Him go...but He wants her to serve Him. She is given a task she must complete. She must tell the disciples about Jesus' impending ascension to the Father. She is the one chosen and entrusted with this important Message.
Jesus meets with the disciples later that same evening as they are locked away in fear. Thomas is not there. Jesus comforts the rest of them with His gift of peace, He reveals Who He is, He breathes on them and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit, and then He explains what He wants them to do. Armed with the blessing of the Holy Spirit they are now expected to step outside of their fear...He is sending them out of that room and into the world...because they have a Mission to accomplish.
Jesus meets Thomas eight days later. Thomas is present with the other disciples this time but he is filled with doubt. Jesus greets them all with His peace and then turns His focus onto Thomas. This doubter is called upon to touch and see the scars of Christ, He highlights Thomas' need for proof and then He gives him a strong Mandate to obey regarding his attitude...stop doubting and BELIEVE!
All of these encounters with Jesus are up close and personal. Do you long for such a meeting with Him?
Perhaps, like Mary, Jesus is right there with you in your grief but you have not recognized or perceived His presence. Perhaps, like the disciples you're in fear of what's coming next. Perhaps, like Thomas you're in doubt and waiting for God to prove Himself to you.
Are you ready for a Close Encounter with Christ during this season of Lent? Perhaps, as you open your eyes and your ears and your heart to Him, He will reveal Himself to you. He will comfort you. and He will meet you where you are.
Are you ready to be sent forth with a Message to give?
Are you seeking to be sent out on a Mission for Him?
Are you in need of a Mandate regarding your current attitude?
Whether you are in grief, in fear, or in doubt,
God will meet you right where you are.