Mary: I Call You By Name

29th March

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize Him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought He was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to Him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).”

John 20:14-16

One of the first people Jesus appeared to in His resurrected body was Mary Magdalene. We don’t know a lot about Mary, other than the fact she had been delivered from seven demons by Jesus. Some say she was a prostitute or a ‘loose woman’ before she met Jesus, yet those claims are not supported by Biblical references. What we do know about her, is that after her healing, she never left Jesus’ side. She was present throughout Jesus’ ministry, at the cross and most importantly at the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection. Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the resurrected Jesus is recorded in the Gospel of John and is especially significant for Jesus’ words when speaking with Mary.

After questioning the angels to see where Jesus’ body was, noticing that the tomb had been opened and Jesus’ body was not in the tomb, Mary encountered a Man whom she thought was the gardener. Yet in actual fact the ‘gardener’ was indeed the resurrected Jesus. However, it was Jesus’ response to Mary’s desperate questions that promoted her to recognise who Jesus really was. As soon as Jesus said “Mary”, she knew it was her Lord and Saviour. The love that could be heard through Jesus’ affirming words moved Mary to call out ‘Teacher’ or ‘Rabboni’. She knew the voice of her Good Shepherd calling her. She knew the comfort His voice brought. She knew the value of Jesus’ words. She knew that she was God’s child and that God Himself was calling her. One can only imagine the joy that Mary must have felt when Jesus called her by name.

Today, Jesus calls us too by name. He calls us as His bride. He calls us as His chosen ones. His voice is as re-assuring, affirming and loving as it was when He called out Mary’s name. His voice gives us the assurance that we are His. Heed Jesus’ loving voice. We are His beloved.

The Pharisee’s Denial

28th March

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you.””

Matthew 28:5-7

It seems as if everyone but the Pharisees knew that something special had just taken place when Jesus was crucified. What were they thinking? Were their eyes blinded to the events surrounding Jesus’ death?

Moments after Jesus’ death, the leading Pharisees and teachers of the law, went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ tomb to be blocked by a huge stone to prevent His disciples coming in the middle of the night to steal His body and thus claiming that He had risen from the dead. Interestingly, as written in Matthew 27:63, the Pharisees were worried about Jesus’ own claims that on the 3rd day He would rise from the dead again. Sure enough, their request was granted, and in addition, the tomb was guarded by some Roman Soldiers. Yet the huge stone could not keep Jesus in His grave, and just as He said, He rose from the dead on the 3rd day.

Mary Magdalene and Mary went to visit the grave on the 3rd day, yet to their shock, they found the huge stone sealing Jesus in, rolled to one side with an angel of the Lord sitting on top of the boulder. As the two women went to the disciples to share their great news, some of the guards who had also heard about these events, went to tell the Pharisees that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb and that the huge boulder had been rolled away. The Pharisees offered a bribe to the soldiers saying, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body’” (Matthew 28:13).

Time and time again, the Pharisees denied who Jesus said He was, denied what the scriptures said about Him, even to the point of manipulating lies about Him, and even denied His true resurrection. Today, we also live in an age where people set out to deny the truth about Jesus. Will you accept the truth that Jesus truly rose again and invite Him to journey with you in your life?