“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”).”
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.