WHAT’S IN A NAME?
“. . . turned toward Him and cried out. . . “Rabboni!” (John 20:16)
Two dreadful days had passed since the events of “Good Friday.” And actually, there seemed to be nothing good about it at all. Betrayal, disappointment, pain, and a cruel death had numbed their broken hearts. It was also a high holy day that year. Early in the morning on the first day of the week, faithful follower Mary Magdalene made the trek up to where they had laid the Master, in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus. It was still dark but to her dismay, she saw the stone sealing the entrance had been moved. . .
At once she ran breathlessly to Simon Peter and John to inform them that the body of her beloved Lord was not there. The men raced each other back to the tomb and it was John who reached there first. The linens used in traditional Jewish burial custom to wrap the remains were lying there and the kerchief used to cover the head was neatly folded by itself. With one look at the evidence, they believed. But Mary remained outside the tomb, weeping as she found His body missing. Then as she knelt for a closer look inside the tomb, she witnessed two angels dressed in white, seated where the head had laid and at the foot end. They said to her:
“Woman, why do you weep?” Amidst her sobs, she replied: “They took my Master, and I don’t know where they have placed Him.” As she turned away, she saw someone standing, but could not recognize Him. He spoke to her saying, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” Thinking He was the gardener, she replied: “Master, if you took Him, tell me where you have placed Him, so I can care for Him.” Just then she heard Him call her by name, “Mary.” (John 20:16)
She was recognized by her name! Turning to face Him, she responded in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” to mean: “Teacher!” She did not recognize Him until He addressed her by her name! What a reunion that must have been!
Jesus said to her, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God’.” (John 20:17)
So, it was a simple woman who was the carrier of the wondrous news of the resurrected Christ to the disciples of that day. “I saw the Master!” In that day and culture, it was something unheard of for a woman to do. Consider how a name plays a vital role in the resurrection story. Today, what a privileged people we are to be known to almighty God by name. He knows you by name! (Isaiah 43:1)
Later the same day, the disciples had gathered, but fearful of the Jews, had secured all the doors in the house. To their great joy, they witnessed Jesus enter and stand before them saying: “Peace be to you.” It was then that He showed them His hands with the nail prints and His riven side, where the spear of the Roman soldier had pierced Him on the cross. The exuberance of those gathered can only be imagined as they saw the Master with their own eyes and heard with their own ears His greeting: “Peace be to you. Just as the Father sent me, send I you.”
Again, on Resurrection Sunday, we stand amazed at the degree of sacrificial love Jesus our Savior displayed for humanity. His desire is to know you as His child – to know you by name.