14Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)
Mary didn’t recognize Jesus. She was one of the women who followed Him and ministered to Him throughout His earthly ministry (Luke 8:2-3). She knew Him well and had heard His voice thousands of times. Jesus honored Mary by choosing her to be the first person He appeared to after His resurrection, yet she supposed He was the gardener.
Certainly, one of the principle reasons Mary didn’t recognize Jesus was that she wasn’t expecting to see Him alive! The thought that Jesus could be alive hadn’t yet entered her mind. This illustrates how her expectations dictated her experience, and all believers are no different. What we expect from God is usually what we get from Him.
God is who He is regardless of what we think about Him. As far as our experience goes, we will only experience Him the way we think He is. For instance, those who believe God doesn’t heal today won’t be healed until they begin to believe differently. Those who don’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit won’t receive it. Those who don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead will not recognize the risen Christ, even if He stood before them.
Mary recognized Jesus when He called her name. It was the personal relationship between them that finally opened her eyes. What do you believe about Him today? If you think He’s angry with you, you won’t experience His pleasure, even though Scripture says you are accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). If you believe He’s forsaken you, you won’t experience His presence, even though He never leaves nor forsakes you (Heb. 13:5). Believe everything the Bible says He is, and He will be all that to you and more.