Jesus said to her, “Mary.” (John 20:16a)
On the first Easter Sunday morning, Peter, John (the one that Jesus loved) and Mary Magdalene all knew that Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead, and that His tomb was empty, but they still did not understand that Jesus actually did rise from the dead.
Mary knew all of the relevant facts and yet she still assumed that grave robbers had taken the body of her Lord. Jesus, now resurrected and standing before her, had already spoken to Mary, but it was only when He called her by name that she realized that is was Him, and that He really was risen from the dead.
We can know all of the relevant facts of the Christian faith and yet it is all just dead religion until we, like Mary, hear the risen Lord call our name. Then, and only then, do we realize the personal significance of those relevant facts.
Jesus has broken down all the barriers between us and Him. All of our sin-guilt and shame has been paid for in full by Jesus. The dark clouds of our shameful past are vapourized by the warm light of Jesus’ unconditional acceptance and love for us.
Jesus comes to us and calls us by name through His Word. He says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1)
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28).
Jesus calls us by name in the waters of Holy Baptism where He washes us clean of all our sin, gives us new life and adopts us into the family of God. Jesus calls us by name as He invites us to share in the sacred meal of Holy Communion where He nourishes our spirit with His Body and Blood which was given for the forgiveness of all our sins.
Sometimes we need to quiet ourselves and be still before we can hear Him. But Jesus is calling your name and mine. The salvation Jesus gives us is personal, and that makes all the difference.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to be still and hear the sound of Your voice as You call my name. Amen.