A Dying Devotion

She didn’t have to call Him that. Didn’t have to refer to Him with that title. In fact, if she had decided to refer to Him in some other way — like just Jesus, or the carpenter’s son, or the delusional one, or the scam artist from Nazareth — it would have been understandable.

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

(John 20:1-2 ESV)

There’s no way, when she first decided to follow Jesus, that Mary envisioned the promised Christ being crucified. No way she thought that Messiah would be manhandled, mauled, and mocked before her eyes. No way she equated the Son of Man with the Lamb of God. And yet, on that first resurrection morning, when Mary reported what she had found (or hadn’t found) at the tomb to the other disciples, she referred to Jesus as Lord. Even though her dreams had been shattered, she related to Him as her master. She was still His servant, even as she came to anoint His body.

She called Him Lord. And this morning, that strikes me as the deepest of devotion. A dying devotion.

It’s not like following Jesus had ever been easy, but believing He was God come down to earth was fueled by the signs and wonders. Owning Him as Master was fostered by the authority with which He taught. Her willingness to respond to the call to die to self, take up her cross, and follow was fed by the hope of a kingdom to come. Calling Him Lord through all that is understandable. Being devoted to Jesus while we was “undying” kind of makes sense. But such devotion after Jesus died? Like I said, that’s dying devotion.

Things had changed — drastically! But on this Sunday morning after the dark Friday before, Mary was found still seeking after her Master. She didn’t know how she would minister to His lifeless body, yet the one who bore her own cross, followed Him to the tomb. For, when all was said and done — even when all that was done made no sense — He was still her Lord.

That, it seems to me, is the unfailing fortitude of faith. The fruit of the work of the Spirit of God when a sinner is saved by their Savior.

Though their world’s been turned upside down, though nothing has played out as they thought or hoped it would, though the desires of their heart seem buried in disappointment, for those given by the Father to be redeemed by the Son He is always Lord.

Master in the mayhem. King in the chaos. Lord even in loss. That is the devotion of faith, it seems to me. Even a dying devotion.

Only through God’s great work of grace in our lives.

Only for God’s great glory to be proclaimed forever.

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