“Mary.”

“Mary.” Of all the sentences in the Bible, this is one of my favorites. Mary Magdalene has come to Jesus’ tomb and is distressed to see that his body is gone. Convinced that someone has taken away His body, she stands outside the tomb weeping. Two angels appear and ask simply “Woman, why are you weeping?” She replies, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

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But then she turns and sees someone. She does not recognize Him, though it is the very one she seeks. Somehow her eyes are closed so she cannot see who it is. This man says “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She supposes He must be the gardener and says, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” She wants the body back and begs that this man might return it to her.

But then, in an instant, her eyes are opened. Jesus, as He had called Lazarus out from the tomb, calls to her. He says but one word. “Mary.” At at that very instant she knew. At that very instant she saw and knew and understood that the One she sought was standing right there behind her. She turned and cried out “Rabboni!” (which means teacher). I wonder, did she scream this word and throw herself at Him? Perhaps she could do little more than call out in a whisper as she feel at his feet. We don’t know. But we do know that she clung to Jesus, overwhelmed with His presence, overwhelmed to know that He was alive. She saw and heard and believed.

As I read these words, I think of the way Jesus called me and the way He has called countless thousands of men and women to Himself. Like Mary I was once unable to see Jesus for who He is. I saw a man who may as well have been a gardener. He was a good man, a moral man, and maybe even a great man. But only when Jesus called me by name was I able to see that He is the god-man. Only then was I able to see Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Only then did I really and truly know Him. And only then were my eyes opened so I could see and my ears unstopped so I could hear and my heart renewed so I could believe. Like Mary, He called me by name.