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Whom Do You Seek?

April 18, 2019 by

watercolor painting of the garden tomb by Rita Wegner
Painting by Rita Wegner

During Holy Week we walk with Jesus from Jerusalem, where he entered triumphantly, to the cross, where he took upon himself the world’s suffering. Then we await the wondrous moment of his resurrection. But as we walk, Jesus asks us the same question that he asked Mary Magdalene by the tomb: “Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15).

Amid the suffering we experience and encounter around us each day, it is easy to miss the signs and affirmations that Jesus is alive and with us today. Like Mary, who returned to the tomb to find her Lord, we too must eagerly look for where Jesus is walking.

If we have open eyes and hearts to see, we can find his footprints among us: in the comfort and healing given to the sick, in the encouragement given to those struggling with depression, in the peace granted to troubled veterans, in the unlikely transformation of hardened criminals, in unexpected reconciliation between old enemies.

Cross in Weiperz, Germany
Cross in Weiperz, Germany

In my congregation, and surely in yours as well, there are many who carry burdens of sickness, depression, anxiety, or grief. Jesus tells us that each person has a cross to carry. We can only carry that cross with the help of Jesus, who promises to give us the comfort and strength we need: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29–30).

Even during this holiest season, it is easy to be distracted by our work and schedule. But especially this week, when we remember the suffering of Jesus and how God gave his only Son to die for our sins, we need to pause and consider: “Who is it that we seek?”

Jesus tells us, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24–25). I was reminded of this truth several weeks ago as I walked through the rolling hills of central Germany.

words at the base of a cross in the village of Weiperz, Germany
“In the great garden of nature, you can see God’s footprints. If you want to see him even more clearly, then stay under the cross.”

Near the village of Weiperz, I came upon a cross at the top of a hill. Inscribed on the cross was this: “In the great garden of nature, you can see God’s footprints. If you want to see him even more clearly, then stay under the cross.” Powerful words, words which require action and faith.

It is by accepting our cross, as Jesus did, that we find meaning in life and are led to true freedom and peace of conscience, and ultimately to the victory of life even in death. And it is by staying close to the foot of His cross that we will find our Lord, and find each other, and find eternal peace. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it simply:

If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature. But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the cross of Christ. And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands. This is not according to our nature at all, it is entirely contrary to it. But this is the message of the Bible, not only in the New but also in the Old Testament.

Whom do we seek? Is it truly the Christ, or are other things more important to us? Success, education, security, comfort, pleasures, or even good causes – have any of these become more important than Jesus? His way is a way of suffering and sacrifice, yet it is the only way that truly brings peace, healing, and new life. Through his great love and compassion, Jesus will draw all people to himself, into his heavenly kingdom (John 12:32).

Whom do we seek? It is Jesus, our Savior, the Risen Lord!

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About the author

Paul Winter and his wife Betty

Paul Winter

Paul Winter serves as the Elder of the Bruderhof. He lives with his wife, Betty, at the Maple Ridge Bruderhof.

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