WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” John 20: 15
With their lanterns and weapons, the soldiers and Judas came looking for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus saw them approaching, He said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I am He.” Then Judas stepped back and fell to the ground out of shame. Then Jesus asked again, “Whom are you looking for?”
In another garden, thousands of years earlier, a man and woman had chosen to follow their own understanding and logic. They followed the advice of a serpent, in direct contradiction to God's command. When they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they saw that they were naked and were ashamed. Then they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves and then they ran away and tried to hide from God. But they couldn't! Then comes the surprise in the story: instead of God abandoning mankind, He went out looking for them! “Where are you? I am looking for you.”
But here is another garden where the same question is asked: “Whom are you looking for?” After the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mary Magdalene came to another garden: the garden where Jesus had been buried. She was crying. She looked into the tomb and she heard someone asking, “Why are you weeping?” She explained that she still believed that someone must have stolen the body of Jesus. In her sorrow she turned away from the empty tomb and saw someone who again asked her why she was crying. Then, that gardener asked Mary the same question that we heard thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden and then in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Whom are you looking for?” Mary answered by repeating her question, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” As if she were able to do this.
“Whom are you looking for?” is not only a question God had for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is not only for Judas and the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. And it is not only for Mary Magdalene in the Easter Garden. It is God's question for each of us in this church today. So brothers and sisters, Whom are YOU looking for?
For some, “Whom” is too personal. We often run from that question like Adam and Eve ran from God. The most we want to hear is “What?” – “What are we looking for?”, as in, better church building, cooler, more accessible with enough parking space, cooperative church members, non-confrontational and always smiling church leaders, larger facility with less activity and less contribution required; or, like Adam and Eve, power and control; or, like Judas, more money; or, like Mary Magdalene, the ability to do something even for a dead body; or, like Peter, forgiveness. But we have to realize that the question of Easter is not “What?” but “Who?” – Easter is not offering some “thing” – it is offering some “one!” Easter is offering us Jesus! If you are looking for something more than what the world offers – if you are looking for faith, hope, and love, they are offered to you this day – not in a “what”, but in a “who”. And His Name is Jesus – risen from the dead for you and for me!