Summary: When Jesus called Mary’s name that first Easter morning, it made a tremendous impact on her life. Jesus still calls our name and it ought to impact our lives in a similar way.
As we go through life, many different people call our name. And it’s amazing to me just how many different messages that can be conveyed to us, depending on just how people call our name:
• When we’re growing up, our parents call our name. Sometimes that is done in a very calm, gentle, loving manner. But other times, especially when they use our full name, it conveys a completely different message. I only know that because my parents often had to do that with my brothers and sister: David James Damiani!…William Scott Damiani!…Sally Elizabeth Damiani! OK, I admit I did hear Richard Patrick Damiani once or twice.
• Then when we go to school, our teachers call our name. And the way they call our name can convey all kinds of emotions – from delight to disgust, from reward to reproof.
• My wife calls my name, too. And the way she calls my name can either let me know she’s in an amorous mood or that I’m in big trouble.
This morning as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, I want us to look at the very first person Jesus spoke to on that very first Easter morning and how He called her name. I want us to discover what that meant for her, but even more importantly, what it means for us today when Jesus calls our name.
We’re going to read this morning from John’s account of the events of that first Easter morning.
Read John 20:1-18
Isn’t amazing that the very first person that Jesus speaks to on Easter morning is a common woman that we don’t know a whole lot about? We know that Jesus had earlier driven seven demons out of her and that in gratitude for His healing in her life, Mary had chosen to follow Jesus and provide financial support for His ministry. We also know that just hours earlier, Mary was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus spoke to his own mother and the apostle John and that she was there when Jesus’ body was taken from the cross and wrapped and laid in the tomb.
In spite of what the author of The DaVinci Code would like you to believe, there is absolutely no reliable evidence that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus and that she and Jesus had children together. Those claims originated from several Gnostic documents that were written hundreds of years after the resurrection in order to discredit Christianity.
But in spite of the fact that she was just a common woman who had been devoted to Him, Jesus chose to reveal Himself for the first time after His resurrection to Mary.
Early Sunday morning Mary went to the tomb. The other gospel writers tell us that she had gone there with some other women to properly treat Jesus body with the spices they had brought with them. But when they got there, the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. Mary went back to tell Peter and John and when they returned to the tomb, they saw that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb.
The disciples went back to their homes, but Mary was so distraught, she remained at the tomb, sobbing uncontrollably. After two angels spoke to her, she turned to look at Jesus, but in her grief, she didn’t recognize who He was. Maybe she couldn’t see Him clearly through her tears. Maybe His resurrected body had a different appearance. Even when Jesus first spoke to her, she didn’t recognize His voice.
We shouldn’t be all that surprised that Mary didn’t recognize Jesus. After all, it’s quite clear from Scripture that even the disciples still didn’t understand the resurrection. So certainly Mary wasn’t even thinking about the possibility that Jesus had risen from the dead.
But then Jesus called her name. With just one word – “Mary” – everything changed. Mary immediately recognized Jesus and grasped Him. And then she went back to the rest of the disciples to share the good news. When Jesus called her name, it completely changed Mary’s life forever. The good news is that Jesus is still in the business of calling our names. And when he calls my name, it also changes my life forever.
So for just a few moments this morning, I’d like us to think about how Jesus can call my name and what that means for my life.
WHEN JESUS CALLS MY NAME…
1. IT CONFIRMS THE RESURRECTION
When Jesus called Mary’s name, it confirmed the resurrection.
Remember that three days before, Mary was at the foot of the cross. She had watched as Jesus breathed His last, as the soldier pierced His side with the spear, as His body was taken down from the cross and wrapped in the linen cloth and spices. There was no doubt in Mary’s mind that Jesus had actually died a physical death and been placed in the tomb with a large stone rolled across the entrance to the tomb.