It Takes All Kinds
I always enjoy reading about the discovery of Jesus’ Resurrection in John 20. Not only because it gives me joy and encouragement every time, but because of the different personalities displayed there. Each personality carries a different approach to life—to problems, opportunities, any situation. And, every approach contributes something good and needed. Which is why God created all kinds of people.
First we see Mary Magdalene—the formerly “loose woman” that Jesus had delivered from seven demons and transformed into a respectable member of society (that is, to anyone willing to acknowledge that Jesus changes people’s lives). While everyone else, including Jesus’ inner circle of men, was still escaping their sorrow in dreamland, Mary M. decided to go be close to Jesus the only way she thought still possible, going to the tomb before dawn. Imagine being the first to discover the tomb was empty—which could only occur by not only seeing the stone had been removed but investigating further and finding Jesus’ body gone. (It would’ve been cool to have Gomer Pyle there to greet her with his cheerful “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”).
Then, instead of just analyzing the situation, she ran back to share the news with Jesus’ closest disciples—“’They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’” (Jn. 20:1-2) While it’s not recorded in the Bible, I can easily picture her shouting, “Hey, sleepyheads! Get up and get a load of this…!”, sharing the breaking news with a mixture of shock, confusion, and anxiety.
It took someone like Mary, with her warm, passionate, personality, to “get the ball rolling”, about the “stone” rolling away.
Next, we see Peter and John’s reaction. Both of them raced to the tomb to check out Mary’s report. John won the race, but stopped short of going in. He, being more cautious and contemplative, looked in, saw only the linen cloths used to wrap Jesus’ body, and waited. Maybe he was thinking, “Is it safe to go in there?” Or, “It’s irreverent to barge in.” Or, “Wow, there’s some major stuff happening here—better think things through before proceeding, not like…” (v. 3-5)
Peter, who finally caught up, didn’t hesitate to barrel right into the tomb, and discovered more— the cloth “that had been wrapped around Jesus head… lying in its place, separate from the linen” (v.6-7). This encouraged John, who likely figured, “if he went in there, so can I,” so John entered the tomb too, “…saw and believed.” (v.8) Believed what? Probably that there was no-body in there but Peter—no dead one, no live guard waiting to capture and arrest him, nothing but grave clothes.
Later, the Lord used John, the contemplative one, to write a Gospel, including the record here, three short letters, and the Book of Revelation. It takes deep thinkers to plumb deep wells of truth and share that life-giving sustenance with the rest of us.
People like Peter, who tend to act and speak before thinking, often get in trouble for it. But, they’re the kind the Lord uses to move His agenda forward and encourage others to join in and get going.
John must’ve rubbed off on Peter too, as good friends do, since Peter sat down to think long enough to write two inspired letters in the Bible later on.
Back to Mary M.—at some point, she’d gone back to the tomb, stood there weeping, looked in, saw two angels, had the courage to actually converse with them, and then Jesus appeared to her! Thinking He was the gardener (like the others, she wasn’t expecting someone to resurrect themselves either), she interrogated Him, discovered Who He really was, and clung to the One she affectionately called “Teacher”. No holding back on emotions or expression for her. Or on again sharing the news—this time with joy and excitement—“Guess what…!” (v.11-18)
Sometimes that much emotion and passion overwhelms people. But the world needs that kind of person to share good news, spread joy like a wildfire, and kindle a flame of excitement in people’s hearts.
Finally, enter Thomas. The disciple who earned the title “Doubting” because of what happened next. He often gets a bad rap for not believing before seeing, but notice that the other disciples huddled in fear in a locked room until Jesus appeared to them. (They just got to see Him first and then rejoice (v.19-20). Sure, it’s more blessed to have faith without needing hardcore evidence first (v.29) But Thomas was the same guy willing to follow Jesus to Jerusalem to the death if need be (Jn. 11:16). The world and God’s Kingdom need devoted friends and followers like him.
They need us too. Whoever we are, however we respond to good news and bad, however the Lord has designed us to speak, act, and influence each other. It takes all kinds.