I Will See You in The Morning

The late Dr. W. A Criswell once related an occasion on an airplane when he was seated beside a well-known theologian whose son had recently died.

The man told the story of how the child had come home from school with a fever. They didn’t think it was serious. However, it was a very fatal form of meningitis. The doctor said we cannot save your little boy.

The professor related to Dr. Criswell how he sat by his son’s bedside while he died.

As the little boy’s vision began to get cloudy he said, “Daddy, it’s getting dark isn’t it?”

“Yes, son it’s getting dark, very dark.”

“Daddy, I guess it’s time for me to go to sleep isn’t it?”

“Yes, son,” he said, “it’s time for you to go to sleep.”

The professor said his son had a certain way of fixing his pillow, and putting his head on his hands when he slept. So, he fixed his pillow, laid his head on his hands and said, “Good night, Daddy. I will see you in the morning.”

The little fella closed his eyes. And passed over into eternity.

Criswell said the man stopped and just looked at the window of the plane for a long time. Then he turned, looked at him with tears streaming down his cheeks and said: “Dr. Criswell, I can hardly wait till the morning.”

John’s gospel tells us about a woman also standing in the specter of death with tears flooding down her face. It was Mary Magdalene.

Mary was at the cross and watched Jesus die. She witnessed the frenzied mob as they clamored for Jesus’ death. The cruel beating that tore His flesh into ribbons. The laborious journey to Calvary. Her weakened Master whose knees buckled under the weight of the beams. She saw it all.

Then she came to the foot of the cross. She heard the taunts. The ridicule. The insults. She saw the derisive looks. The crown of thorns on His brow. The bloodied body of Jesus as He writhed in agony. This grotesque scene of this horrifying execution must have sickened her.

Yet she stayed until he breathed his last breath and said, “It is finished.” Then she watched Joseph claim his body. She observed the tomb where they laid him.

As Friday turned into Saturday, you wonder what thoughts were going through Mary’s mind? What emotions was she feeling? I can imagine she reflected on when she first met Jesus. Luke says she was one of several demon-possessed women that Jesus healed. In fact, Mary had seven demons. (Lk. 8:1-2)

From what bondage did Jesus free Mary? Was it mental illness? Physical ailments? Sexual sin? We’re not told. But Mary was restored to health. Given a new life. And free from her past burdens. So, from then on she followed Jesus and ministered to Him. It’s clear that she loved him deeply.

Now He’s dead. The disciples are scattered. The apostles are hiding. And everyone’s hopes are shattered. But Mary and two other women decide to take spices to anoint the body of Jesus.

It was very early on Sunday morning. When she arrived the stone was rolled away. The tomb was empty. And Mary began to weep. Now insult has been added to injury, she thought. Someone has stolen the body of Jesus. But as she peered into the tomb she saw two angels, who asked, “Why are you crying?” After telling them, she turned and there stood Jesus!

Through her tear-filled eyes, she didn’t recognize him. She thought he was the gardener. But when he softly said, “Mary.” She instantly knew. “Teacher!” She exclaimed. Suddenly her agony turned into ecstasy. Sadness became become gladness. And sorrow gave birth to joy. What an incredible moment.

Like Mary Magdalene we all need liberating. We all have our demons that need exorcizing. We all need healing. And Jesus is the One who can do it.

We may experience days of heartache. Pain. Sorrow. And suffering. There may be times when it seems like all is lost. When we feel like Jesus is unresponsive to our needs. When we wonder if we’ve followed in vain. When we’re not sure where to turn. In times like that, Mary Magdalene is our example.

She says, “Take a look in the tomb.” And guess what? Jesus will show up. In unexpected places and in amazing ways. He can turn sorrow into joy. Frowns into smiles. Tears into laughter. Despair into hope. And abandonment into purpose.

Mary’s early morning encounter with Christ reminds us that death is not final. We are not finished. There is life beyond the grave.

When we face the harsh reality of death, Jesus gently says, “I will see you in the morning.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Death

2 responses to “I Will See You in The Morning

  1. Chuck Richardson

    A Very Impactful Story. I can see a lesson developed around this father’s experience.

  2. “I will see you in the morning when I wake up” is what Christians have been saying and clinging to for over 2000 years. For God a thousand years is like a day. And yet for the Dad who misses his son, each day that passes feels like a thousand years (Psalm 90:4).

    Chuck is right. Ken that story makes an impactful post. It jarred my Christian memory and compelled me to think about why Luke may have described the Magdalene as being possessed by 7 demons (Luke 8: 1-2).

    The Magdalene was not mentally ill.

    The Pharisees then and the disciples obedient to the Law see the Magdalene as an enigma, a problem. She stands up to Jesus Barabbas “face to face” and wants the Truth to come out. Until Simon entered her living tableau, she mistakenly supposed that Jesus the Barabbas was the Gardener, the husbandman or the Father who would redeem her as Boas had redeemed the widow Naomi.

    Why would the Magdalene think such a thing? Well the Pharisees had taken over and were dividing the kingdom of Israel and creating divisions amongst themselves and their Gentile neighbours with their interpretations of the Law and Oral Traditions. And yet, the prophets all spoke of the day when Israel’s promised Messiah would come and redeem her and her people and reconcile the kingdom of Israel.

    Most likely her 7 demons (Luke 8: 1-2) were members of the Sanhedrin or 7 types of pharisees epitomized by Simon the Pharisee, the chief Pharisee who looked on as she anointed Jesus Barabbas and Luke’s other invited guests in the preceding 14 verses of his Gospel (Luke 7: 36-50).

    As love stories go, Simon was hung up on the Magdalene and she him. But Simon who had been brought up as a pharisee didn’t trust Jesus Barabbas. He didn’t regard him as a prophet worthy of the title and respect of Messiah, especially if Barabbas regarded the Magdalene’s illicit love and devotion for him as something that should be hushed up and not brought out into the open.

    Admitting any such illicit relationship with someone who thought he was Jesus would certainly destroy his reputation and out him as a resistance leader. More importantly, it was blasphemous to say he was the Christ. In addition, it would kill people’s faith. It would kill the whole notion of an omnipotent, infallible God who created only one perfectly obedient male human to serve and rule over all others.

    Simon knew that Jesus the Magdalene had met with Jesus Barabbas under the cover of darkness. Simon knew that she believed Jesus Barabbas was her Nicodemus, the Teacher of all Israel. And this angered him. What right did Jesus Barabbas have to call Jesus the Magdalene a sinner? Barabbas should be the one acknowledging, owning up to the fact…that he made the Magdalene a sinner when he invited himself to her home that day when the Assembly met out near Jericho. Simon was not going to be on the hook for making the Magdalene a sinner and a blasphemer. She had met Jesus Barabbas long before she met him.

    Simon was an ordinary Joe with no silver or gold. He was not her Cephas, the Everlasting Father destined to raise a crippled family of beggars and transform them into joyful athletic peacemakers. He was not the Magdalene’s promised Bridegroom and nor was Jesus Barabbas. He had not planted that idea in her heart or her mind.

    The Magdalene was the one in need of a reality check not him. She was the one that needed to wake up. She wasn’t going to see him in the morning or any morning in the near future. He was a romantic singer and entertainer who was “good with the ladies”. Perhaps she was mentally ill and full of demons. She wasn’t going to change him or get him to commit. For Simon and many of his women followers clinging to the idea of finding “true love” the idea of family was and is problematic and peace was and is a dream. They cling to the dream, but they do not really believe a Messiah will ever come and make that dream a personal reality for them and their families, let alone return one day at the end of history and make it a reality for nations. Ha Ha…that is just FAKE NEWS.

    The Pharisees teach that Satan and his followers are legion. Perhaps they are right. So many men, do not want to pick up their cross and be nailed down. They may sing about love and flirt with women and some may even flirt with other men, but for them the words “I will see you in the morning ” are an empty promise.

    It’s time for the Magdalene’s of this world to walk away. To make plans for the future that will allow them to realize that dream of family, friends and neighbours working together fully in peace and harmony. If the Simons they love are worth their salt, they will follow and get hitched to that Old Rugged Cross. Thanks Ken!

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