He Knew Her By Name
The unthinkable has happened: Jesus has been crucified, as we can read in Matthew 27. Let’s read Matthew 27:45-50 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave Him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit.
Among those watching His crucifixion were some women disciples, as we can read in Matthew 27:55-56 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for His needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
After the crucifixion Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb and a big stone was placed in front of it. One of the women disciples named Mary Magdalene had seen all of that as Matthew tells us in Matthew 27:61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, this same Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb to take care of the body of her Lord. (Mary Magdalene) “I got up very early this morning for I was on a mission to take care of the body of my Lord who had been crucified three days earlier….
I knew it would be challenging to do so for His body had been placed in a tomb and a heavy stone had been placed in front of it… But that did not worry me. II was determined that somehow I would be able to get to His body and take care of it since it was the last thing I could do for Him….
But when I came to the tomb I was shocked to see that the stone had already been removed (John 20:1)… Who could have done that?... I had a quick look inside the tomb and to my horror discovered that the body of my Lord was no longer there….
Now I was sure I was at the right tomb for I had sat in front of it when his Body had been placed inside it (Matthew 27:61)… But now there was no longer a Body….What was I to do?”
Let’s read John 20:2 to find out what Mary Magdalene does next So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put Him.”
(Peter)”John and I were together. It was still early in the morning when Mary Magdalene came running….
She was obviously very distraught so we tried to calm her down and have her tell us why she was so upset….
She then told us that she had already been to the tomb but that the stone had been removed and that there was no longer a body inside the tomb…
None of her words made sense to us for we knew that the stone placed in front of Jesus’ tomb was extremely heavy and it would have been impossible for anyone to remove that stone…
John and I then decided that we better check things out for ourselves so we went with Mary to the tomb only to find out that she was right….
There was no stone in front of the tomb and there was no body inside the tomb….It was all so very strange for the strips of linen as well as the burial cloth were all neatly folded up….
None of it made sense to us….But neither did we know what to do about it so John and I decided to go back home since, suddenly, we felt quite hungry and that did make sense because we had not yet had our breakfast” (John 20:3-10)”….
But what about Mary Magdalene? Does she go back home too?
No, for Mary Magdalene cannot leave the place where she knows the body of her Lord and Master has been laid to rest. He was and is everything to her for He had set her free, as we can read in Luke 8:1-3 After this time Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary called Magdalene from whom 7 demons had been cast out; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Suzanna and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
(Mary Magdalene) “Jesus had done for me what no other man, including the religious leaders, had been able to do for me: He had set me free from seven demons who had been tormenting me all my life…
My life then truly began and I became a disciple of Jesus following Him wherever He went….
I did not care what anyone thought of me, for in our society women do not leave their homes….
But I knew I should follow Jesus for I had never met anyone who loved me as He did and who gave me dignity as a woman showing me that as a daughter of Abraham I was worthy to receive the blessings of God just like any Jewish man…
And I followed Jesus all the way to the Cross and then on to the tomb”….
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ then, like Mary Magdalene, He has liberated you from the restrictions society may have placed on you and has restored your dignity. And you too are a child of Abraham by faith as you can read in Galatians 3:7 Understand then that those who believe are children of Abraham.
Moreover, you are blessed as Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, you too are to follow Jesus daily, as Mary Magdalene did. Of course, this may not mean that you are to physically leave home as she did.
However, you are to leave home in a spiritual sense. With that I mean that you must make Jesus your priority in everything that you say and do, being determined to please Him in every way rather than trying to please your family, friends or neighbours.
Your family, friends or neighbours may well be opposed to you following Jesus, especially when it involves you being set free from restrictions society may have placed on you. Jesus explained this principle in Matthew 10:37-39 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
You may not have needed to be delivered from seven demons as was the case with Mary Magdalene but, no doubt, Jesus has delivered you from your sinful condition and you have received a new life in Him.
You may even have followed other gods in the past but they could not do anything for you. However, having met Jesus you have received eternal life and God wants you to obey Him every day of your life. Let’s now return to the story of Mary Magdalene.
(Mary Magdalene) “I know that Peter and John did not see a reason to stay since the Lord’s body was nowhere to be seen. But I could not leave… Where would I go?....
I then decided to have another look inside the tomb….I don’t even know why I did that… Perhaps I was hoping that somehow my Lord’s body had been returned to it… However, that was not the case….
I could not stop myself from crying….But through my tears I then suddenly saw two angels inside the tomb (John 20:11-12)… They must have been there the first time I looked inside the tomb but I did not see them then...
And these two angels began to speak to me…. They did not understand why I was crying so I had to explain to them that the body of my Lord was lost….
I then saw Someone else (John 20:13-14…) He too asked me why I was crying so I asked Him if he could help me locate the body of my Lord…..However, this Man then spoke again and everything changed”….
Let’s read John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary”. She turned towards Him and cried in Aramaic, “Rabboni, which means “Teacher.”
(Mary Magdalene) “The moment this Man spoke my name, I knew….This was my Lord…. He had come back to life (John 20:16)….I didn’t know how this had happened… I just knew it had happened….
The One I had seen hanging on the cross and die…. Whose body I had seen placed in a tomb…. Had come back to life….
I did not want to let Him go but He gently told me not to hold on to Him for He had a mission to fulfil and He gave me a task as well…
I was to go and tell the Apostles and the other believers that He had risen from the dead (John 20:17)….
I am my way to do so now (John 20:18)…..Can you imagine…. my Lord is alive!!”
God equipped Mary Magdalene for the task He had for her so she was able to do what He had for her to do.
Likewise, God has a task for you to fulfil and He will equip you for your task by providing you with His spiritual gift or gifts so you will be able to do what He has for you to do as you can read in I Corinthians 12:4-11 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues. All these are the works of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.
Please remember that, whatever the Lord wants you to do, He wants it to be based on love, as you can read in I Corinthians 13:1-2 And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
You can read about the love that God wants you to love others with in I Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you. He desires to display this kind of love as part of the character of God, or the fruit of the Sprit, through you, as you can read in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Mary Magdalene allowed God to use the circumstances in her life to develop Godly character in her so God could use her for what He had prepared for her to do. God was able to do this work in her and through her because Mary Magdalene had developed a very intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Therefore, she knew His Voice and was willing to be obedient to whatever He had for her to do.
Likewise, God wants to develop Godly character in you, this fruit of the Spirit, through your circumstances so that God can use you to minister to others in whatever way He has designed for you.
Please remember that this can only happen as you develop an intimate relationship with Jesus by reading God’s word and prayer and by being obedient to do whatever God calls you to do.