Would You Believe?

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.” John 20:1-8

John saw and believed.

Would you have believed? Would I?

Can you imagine the disappointment of Jesus followers when he succumbed to the grave. He was supposed to be their King, their Savior, but with his death, he’d proven to be human. Even though Jesus had spoken of His resurrection, no one really expected Him to come back. After watching him die, I know I wouldn’t have.

Even once He arose, His followers didn’t immediately recognize Him. And we’re all familiar with Doubting Thomas who needed to see the nail scars:

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25b

Would that have been you? That likely would have been me.

The thing is, Jesus knew exactly what each follower needed to see–to open their eyes–and believe. John only needed to see the empty tomb and folded linens, where Thomas needed to see Jesus’ scars and to feel his wounds. Mary Magdalene and the disciples each had a different experience. Jesus pursues us and He reveals Himself to each of us in a unique way. He knows exactly what it takes to reach our hearts.

Would I have believed back then? I may have needed to see his scars, but I’ve no doubt He would have gladly shown them to me.

A Samwise Kind of Love

Boromir was tempted. Galadriel was tempted. Even Frodo was tempted in the end. It was an ordinary gold band that immortalized the worst kinds of evil Middle Earth had ever known. Gandalf knew the ring would have power over him and so he declined it when Frodo asked him to take the burden of the ring from him.

The Lord of the Rings is not known as a love story. But truly it is. The person with the biggest heart and the most steadfast love is Samwise Gamgee. Just an ordinary hobbit living an ordinary life. There is nothing much to note about Sam. We first get a glimpse into the love Sam has for his friend Frodo when Frodo tries to leave him behind. Frodo sets off in a boat determined to carry the burden of the ring alone. Although Sam cannot swim, he follows after Frodo into the water. Frodo is forced to save his hobbit friend or let him drown.

Samwise quote 2Later in the story when it is apparent to everyone but Frodo that Smeagol aka Gollum was manipulating Frodo, Sam suffers abuse for trying to reveal the creature’s less than honorable antics. Later Smeagol makes Frodo believe Sam has stolen the last of the food, and he is left behind. Sam comes to the rescue, though, when Frodo is led into a trap and captured. Sam saves him and continues to encourage Frodo in his trek to Mt. Doom until the ring is finally destroyed (no thanks to Frodo’s desire to keep the ring.)

Love doesn’t let others carry their burdens alone. Love does not give up, even when you can’t go on any further. Love believes when all hope is gone. Love, when paired with bravery and determination, can defeat any evil that challenges it.

I want the kind of love Sam showed Frodo. I want a Samwise kind of love.