October 07, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
“She supposing Him to be the gardener said .”
Mistaken identity is a common occurrence. We read that they supposed He was a spirit (Luke 24:37); some thought Him only a stranger (Luke 24:18) to the events in Jerusalem. Others thought He was stolen away. Here in John 20, Mary thought she was speaking to the gardener.
In a very real sense, He is the gardener – the gardener of our souls. Weeds need to be removed. Water needs to be added. How tirelessly and patiently He has labored on some of our souls that they might bear fruit!
Notice the weeds and boulders He removes in the remainder of the chapter. As He deals with Mary, it is the weed of sorrow and grief. So pre-occupied with her loss, she was not able to appreciate her gain. She had to “turn” (v 16) from her sorrow to see Him. Like Moses in the desert (Ex 3:3) and John on Patmos (Rev 1:12), she had to turn from her circumstances to appreciate all He wished to be to her. When she turned, she exchanged her pain for incredible gain.
A different weed was growing rampant, however, in the upper room (vv 19-23). It was the weed of fear. It was strangling and suffocating any possibility of fruitfulness in the lives of those gathered. Doors were shut and windows, no doubt, barred. Hushed voices and subdued tones were the only thing allowed. Suddenly, unexpectedly, into their midst came the Gardener. His words, “peace be unto you,” turned sadness into gladness and fear into fresh hope. Lives and labor would now be fruitful as He breathed on them the Spirit of God.
The Gardener had one more removal to perform: the boulder of stubbornness and unbelief. It was not that Thomas could not believe; he would not believe. He adamantly refused and laid down his own conditions. How gracious of the Lord to deal so gently with him. And when He was done His gardening, the boulder was gone and fruit began to spring to life!
The Gardener is still at work in your life and mine.
1. Look at the field of the slothful man in Proverbs 24:30-34 and consider what a gardener would need to do in order to see it bear fruit. Then in contrast, consider the life of the Lord Jesus as a garden and how fruitful it was.
2. Notice that Mary, in her devotion, uses the expression “My Lord” (v 13), for the body of her “dead” Savior. She still owned Him as Lord, even in death! Trace all six people in the Word of God who refer to Him as “My Lord.”