John 20:16 “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni’ (which means, Teacher).”
There is something incongruous in the picture of Mary standing at Jesus’ empty tomb, a relic of His suffering and death, yet now forever stands as the history-transcending picture of Jesus’ victory and exaltation. Here personified in Mary’s stooped figure, cheeks wet with tears streaming down her face is the metaphor of longing for lost hope. All she had hoped for, all that she had dared to believe, was (she thought) dead in the tomb of Jesus.
The picture is a strange contrast of helplessness expressing love in the face of life’s sorrowful realities and doing it at the very place of life’s greatest victory! But, if she had only known, that what she thought to be true was not the whole truth, and the truth she did not know was so glorious that it would turn her weeping into a clinging to the resurrected Christ and happily announcing that He lives, then she might have actually started laughing at the pouring out of her sad heart at the very place where her joy was sealed and secured – the tomb of the resurrected Christ! She thought this was the tomb of the crucified Christ, when in fact, and for all of history, it would the tomb of the victorious Christ and our greatest hope.
What made the change in her? What sent the rays of understanding and joy into her grieving heart and pulled her out of the mire of despair? It was a simple, yet life-changing thing…it was Jesus speaking her name! We wish we could have been there to hear the tone of His voice when the Savior spoke her name, “Mary!” Certainly, there was sweetness, intimacy, relationship, and compassion soaked in divine love in that one spoken name, “Mary!” Here is an entire volume on how Jesus comforts the sad and anxious heart of His broken one.
It was by one word that God created the heavens and the earth, and it was by one word that Jesus created peace in Mary’s heart. In that one spoken name, Mary was healed, strengthened, lifted, assured, and secured for the rest of her life. Nothing would ever be the same; JESUS LIVES! And in His life, He brought to her love, kindness, empathy, and promise for every day that she would ever live. Mary would live in the light of this truth all through her life, and on her final day on this earth, she would remember Jesus saying to her on that special day, “Mary!”
O that we could hear the resurrected Christ speak our names in love and promise! But we do! He speaks to us in the text of Scripture calling our names at every turn, in every joyful detail, in every promise made to His elect and covenant people, and He speaks to us in Scripture with assuring assertion and calming certainty. Let us listen this day for the voice of our victorious Savior to speak our names in His Word as we read it.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how often do we your people stand outside the tomb weeping with a sense of gloom and despair? We wrongly assess the darkness of the cross as the defeat that we mistakenly assume leads to a desperate and hopeless future. And yet, the resurrected, victorious Christ stands nearby to speak our name in revelation to refocus and recalibrate our perception of reality to the supreme fact of Christ’s exalted life and victory. Help us today to come to Your tomb and know with certainty that this is not only the tomb of the crucified Savior; it is the tomb of the resurrected Lord! He lives, and all have changed. Thank you for this reality today and every day that we can live in the light of its truth.