The weekend had begun on the worst possible note with an extreme display of injustice and inhumaneness driven by a religio-political agenda that seemed to relentlessly assert its way forward unchecked. Speak about being at the mercy of the system. Is there really no one who will listen to the desperate cry of injustice? Jesus, the Son of God, was executed.
As a mad woman being occupied with seven devils (Lk.8:2) she had no future, she had no life. It was Jesus who had made all the difference. He had provided a life unparalleled to anything she had ever known. Following Him and serving with the others (Lk.8:3) must’ve became her full-time occupation, no doubt an absolute privilege in gratitude for a transformed existence.
The hopes and dreams that were generated from His intervention, His presence and teaching, all seemed to have evaporated by Friday evening. He was dead and with Him everything that had meant life and purpose was stripped away.
Mary was her name, hailing from Magdala way up north near Galilee. It was early, before sunrise that Sunday as she made her way in the dark to where He had been buried, probably intending to attend to his body for the last time. To her alarm she discovers the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. In a panic she hurries to tell Peter and John, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him" (Jhn.20:2).
Their mission to the tomb soon ends after discovering Mary’s testimony to be true; the tomb is open, the grave-cloths are left but the body is gone. What a perplexing conundrum. Who would want to remove a body and leave the only objects of value, the grave cloths? (Lk.24:12). John the apostle writes, “… as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes” (20:9-10).
For Mary that was not enough, she would not simply abandon her search. Instead, despite being overcome by grief she persistently enquired as to His whereabouts. Finding men dressed in brilliant white gowns she says, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him” (Jhn.20:13). And then to one she thought was the gardener she expressed for the third time; “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away” (Jhn.20:15).
And then, He called her name, "Mary" (Jhn.20:16).
One can only imagine how the darkness from within her perspective at that very moment must’ve been instantly dispelled by the true Light that had come into the world. The glorious resurrected conqueror of sin, death and hell, stood before her. What an encounter, Divine Holy God and desperate sin sick humanity, face to face.
He called her name! I find it absolutely intriguing that Mary of all people should be the first human eye-witness to Jesus’ resurrection (Mk.16:9). After considering the extreme marginalised position of women in the Jewish socio-cultural context, it is rather striking that she should be considered to be a reliable witness to a supernatural event of such gargantuan proportion as the resurrection.
This matter surely endorses the case for the resurrection even further, not that there is any doubt concerning its authenticity. One would normally choose to use the most culturally accepted witness in support of any testimony or claim made. However, it is worthwhile noting that the Lord certainly does not need man’s testimony (Jhn.5:34-36) about Him but graciously allows His followers the privilege to be bearers of good news (Jhn.20:17). The Lord, the Creator of the universe is not bound by man-made social, cultural or religious structures. Rather, how refreshing to perceive as the reader the existence of elements of the faith that would be extremely counter-cultural by nature.
He called her name! The risen Lord of Glory meets with Mary, He who sustains all the universe bothers with a woman in a moment of compassion, comfort and commission.
Yes, this is the Lord of Glory. Yes this is He, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Php.2:6-8).
Yes, this is He who, “… chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; … chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; … chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor.1:27-29).
In His infinite wisdom God He has planned and executed the one thing necessary to secure salvation for sinners, Christ’s death and His most glorious resurrection. As we examine the evidence we cannot abandon to go home and forget, but to search in earnest until we are found by Him, until He calls our name.
“He has risen, He has risen indeed. And He has called my Name.”
Ps. Deon Lombard
Being a servant of Jesus makes it a delight to reflect and write about all that God has revealed about Himself in His Word.