“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
Mary Magdalene stood weeping before an empty tomb. She had come early on the first day of the week, before even the sun had risen. What she found sent her running to find the disciples. Someone had removed the stone from Jesus’ tomb.
Peter and John both ran to the site. John’s young legs made it there first, but he didn’t enter. Instead he simply stared at the empty linens that had wrapped the Lord. Peter arrived behind him and stooped to go in. John finally joined him. Bewildered, they took in the scene and returned to their homes.
But Mary couldn’t leave. She stood weeping outside, grieving yet another loss. First His life. Now His body. Finally, she entered the tomb, only to discover she wasn’t alone. Two angels in white questioned her.
They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” John 20:13
My throat catches a little as I read Mary’s words. They have taken away my Lord.
I can’t imagine how she must have felt. Jesus had been taken from her. Her Deliverer (Mark 16:9). Her Savior. Her Hope.
Turning around, she saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize Him, mistaking Him for the gardener. Jesus echoed the angels’ question.
“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
Desperate, she pleaded, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take Him away” (verse 15). The next moment changed everything.
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
The Word made flesh spoke her name, and suddenly, she knew. He didn’t look like the Jesus she had known. He didn’t sound the same either. She hadn’t recognized His voice when He questioned her. But when He said her name, she knew Him. She knew because she belonged to Him.
Jesus said it would be so.
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3
Does He speak your name, beloved? Do you recognize Him when He speaks it?
Mary responded precisely how a sheep would.
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). John 20:16
Jesus spoke her name, and she turned.
Believing in Jesus isn’t religion, dear one. It’s personal. He speaks, and those who belong to Him hear and respond. They know when He calls their name. They move to the sound of His Word. They allow it to lead them, even when they have to change direction. But they follow, because they know Him. And they love Him.
They belong to Him.
It strikes me that Jesus waited for Peter and John to leave before revealing Himself to Mary. The disciples didn’t see the angels or encounter their Lord that morning.
But Mary did. A woman. An ordinary woman who offered Jesus extraordinary love. And I can’t help thinking that a God who IS love, cannot withhold Himself from one who gives it so freely.
Have you offered Jesus your love, beloved? Would you grieve like Mary at the thought of someone taking Him from you? Or have you kept Him so distant you’d hardly notice?
He notices, beloved. He calls your name, and invites you to respond. He bled and died so that you could know Him. Intimately. Many know about Him, but those who belong to Him know Him. And they follow, because they love Him.Many people know about Jesus. But those who belong to Him, know HIM. Click To Tweet
On Sunday, we will celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. As we remember the cross and the empty tomb, let’s also remember what it bought us.
Intimacy. Love. Belonging. And the power to follow.
Oh Lord, I want to know You when You speak my name. And I want to turn to You every time. Empower me, Lord, to love You with obedience, that I may see You and proclaim like Mary, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)