When He Calls Your Name
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).”
- John 20:11-16
Jesus has been resurrected from the dead! The stone is rolled away, his garments are nicely folded and placed to the side, and there is no sign of Jesus. It is interesting to note that Simon and John ran back to the tomb with Mary after her discovery of the empty tomb. The men returned to their homes while Mary remained intent upon finding her Lord. Despite all the times that Jesus told the disciples what was to come – his betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection – they still did not understand even while looking at the empty tomb.
Thankfully, Jesus understood their confusion, and he was ready to reveal himself once again. The angels have taken the place in which the body of Jesus had lain for three days. They questioned Mary as to why she was weeping. Mary just wanted to know what they had done with the body of Jesus.
And there was Jesus. He stood behind Mary and also questioned her reason for weeping. For some reason, Mary did not initially recognize Jesus; the text says that she thought he was a gardener and continued to ask what they had done with the body of Jesus.
Then, everything changed. Jesus spoke her name: “Mary.” Just hearing him speak her name removed all the confusion, fear, and doubt. Immediately, Mary’s eyes were opened to see Jesus, to see the resurrected Jesus. What made the difference between recognizing Jesus and thinking him to be the gardener? It was just hearing him speak her name. In knowing and loving Mary so perfectly, Jesus spoke what Mary needed to hear and spoke in the manner in which she needed to hear. Jesus called Mary by her name.
“There Was Jesus” is a song by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton that has become quite popular this past year. It powerfully speaks to the challenges we have faced throughout the pandemic. Repeatedly, the words remind us that Jesus is here; he has not left us; he is in the good times and the bad times. We are often like Mary and do not see him or recognize him, even when he stands just behind us. It is in the moments when we hear him speak our names that we have the invitation to stop – to see the resurrected king who calls us by name.
Do we have ears to hear? Are we pursuing him as Mary did, or do we turn back to our own ways? Jesus would speak to you personally. He would invite you to embrace his resurrected life, to embrace the invitation to see him and to know him, to recognize that he is here and that he has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Reflection:
Can you spend some time today listening for his voice, listening for his invitation, listening to him call you by name?