Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from October 3-7 are provided by Pastor Yohan of Radiance Christian Church, San Francisco. Yohan graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Cairn University, where he studied theology. He is married to Mandie, and they have four small children.
Devotional Thought for Today
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father…”
I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of waking up from a really pleasant dream. When that happens, what is the first thing you want to do? I don’t know what you were thinking but the correct answer is, go back to sleep. You want to go back to sleep, hoping you can go back into that happy fantasy world for a few more minutes.
I have often wondered why Jesus told Mary not to cling to her on that Sunday morning. I used to just think that Jesus was in some quasi-spiritual state, and if Mary tried to hug him, she’d go right through him. But this line of thinking doesn’t make sense for two reasons. First, later on in this chapter Jesus tells doubting Thomas to literally touch the scars on his hands and side, so Jesus must have been tangible. Second and more importantly, the whole point of the resurrection is not that we will become spirits or ghosts, but that we will be resurrected in the flesh. So I’m starting to think that perhaps Jesus was telling Mary, “You can’t cling to me as you used to do, because things have changed.” I’m guessing that in Mary’s mind, she was hoping Jesus would stick around, and things would go back to how they were before Jesus was arrested and crucified. But that world and that time she experienced with Christ would no longer exist; She couldn’t just go back to sleep hoping to return to that happy dream, if you will.
Sometimes in our Christians lives it is healthy to look back and remember God’s past goodness; however, we are never told to live there and pine for the “good ole days.” We have to know that God has new blessing to give and he is doing a new thing everyday. For Mary, it would have been great if Jesus could have stayed so she could cling to him, but that was not God’s plan. In fact, even Jesus says it is better that he leave and the Holy Spirit come (John 16:7), so we must believe that God has great plans ahead. Celebrate the past, but live in anticipation of God’s new work today.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the ways I have experienced you in the past. Thank you that you are working in the here and now, and help me to be excited to be a part of that work too.
Lunch Break Study
Read John 4:31-38: Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them,“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Questions to Consider:
- In this passage, what seems to be the “will” of the Father?
- What do we learn about the harvest? What did Jesus say about the harvest time vs. what others might have thought? How do you think in comparison?
- What do you we learn about Kingdom work in verses 36-38. How is this idea an encouragement and/or challenge to you?
- In this context, the will and work of the Lord was to bring people (specifically Samaritans) to faith. Bringing others to Christ is generally also the work that God has for us too.
- Some think that there will be time to harvest later; however, being “white” implies that the harvest is critically ready (i.e. there is no time to waste or the harvest will go bad). Similarly, I think that is how Christians view evangelism; some think there is plenty of time, others know time is not guaranteed.
- At all times, God is and has been working. You may be called to reap a field you did not sow. Other times you may have to sow and allow another to reap. Either way, we need to be ready to do the work of the Lord in whatever season he has called us.
The theme for today was to be ready to participate in God’s work. Do you believe that God has a new work for today (and tomorrow), and are you ready to reap the harvest? Have you been excited or ready to do God’s work lately, or have you been bogged down by other worries? If the latter, ask God to show you the fields and prepare you for a new work.