But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
There’s desperation in Mary’s voice. Her words seem to cry out: “What…Just…Happened?!” It’s obvious her heart has been torn to pieces and that her mind has been traumatized. Her world as she knew it had been destroyed before her very eyes, and it left her lost and desperately searching.
Two men dressed in white and sitting in a tomb. They undoubtedly stood out, yet Mary responds to their question without a second glance: “They took my Master…”
Jesus is standing right there, asking her questions and her response begins with, “Mister…”
Such a formal, impersonal greeting. It’s so obvious that though she saw, she did not see. Here stands the man whose healing she felt, whose teachings she heard, whose miracles she witnessed, whose daily life she chose to support with all she could offer, and in the depths of her grief, she mistakes him for the gardener.
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher”). John 20:16
Jesus did the very thing that would snap her out of her distraction: He called her name.
Did he speak it barely above a whisper, his heart breaking at her despair? Could he have said it with a compassionate smile, almost a teasing sense of humour, like he couldn’t wait to point out the good news standing right in front of her? Some translations write it with an exclamation point, like it was shouted or said with great emphasis. However Jesus spoke, the point is simply this: He knew her name and there is intimacy in that knowledge. Upon hearing it, Mary’s eyes do open and she responds enthusiastically, calling him Rabonni, an expression of honour and deep affection. This time, I have no doubt that the exclamation point is right where it belongs.
Our God is an intimate God! He is personal, not because we demanded it, but because He chose it. He chose to be born into this broken world. He chose to seek out and befriend the hurting and the ostracized. He chose to lay down His life, dying with the weight of the world’s sin on his shoulders. He conquered death and now sits at God’s right hand in Heaven.
And yet, HE IS RISEN, he is here and he chooses to know my name, too.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know my name. The very thought leaves me speechless and so very thankful. It is such a priceless gift you offer, that my lips can speak your name to you in return, not as a formal address but with intimate affection and honouring worship. You love me far beyond my deserving. May my response to your voice be as Mary’s: immediate, enthusiastic and filled with intimate recognition. Amen.
Contributed by Julie Lee