I love the Word of God and I love how it speaks to a person’s heart exactly in the way that is needed at any given time. I have lost count of the times when I have sat with my Bible, reading a familiar passage. Suddenly something just seems to jump off the pages and speaks a truth so deep into my spirit that I just know the Lord is speaking to me about a situation in my life. I know I am not the only one. Some of you know exactly what I mean. In those moments you know that the Lord is speaking your name. That’s what a Father does. He loves to speak the name of his child. And I believe He delights in the response we have when we hear him call us by name.
There is a woman in the New Testament who had this same experience. You have likely heard about her. You have probably read her story. Her name is Mary Magdalene. She was a woman with a tormented past. Luke 8:2 NIV tells us that at some point in her life Mary had seven demons come out of her. Mark 16:9 NIV says that Jesus drove seven demons out of Mary. I do not know what Mary’s demons were. The Gospel writers do not give details but they did think it important to specify the number of demons that Mary was tormented with. Could it be possible they may have even been witnesses to her deliverance? A thought to ponder.
There is more to Mary Magdalene’s story. Let us look a little closer into this woman’s life as we visit her saga in John 20:1-18 NIV. The story begins very early one morning as Mary makes her way to a tomb. Not just any tomb, but the tomb of her beloved Jesus. It is the story of a woman totally grief stricken because her Lord Jesus is dead and buried. Her hopes, her dreams and her future had been shattered just three days before on that awful Friday when she saw her Lord gasp his last breath on the cross.
In her grief I am certain her mind was flooded with doubt, fear and confusion and perhaps even anger. How could this have happened? It was not supposed to end like this! How could the only man who had shown her such unconditional love be gone from her life? He had delivered her from her past and launched her into a future with hope. He had set her free from the forces of evil that had plagued her for many years. She had learned the most precious truths from this holy Man who had extended grace and mercy to her when possibly no one else saw any value in her life or worth in her existence. She had been given much and now she came to the tomb to give back what she could to honor her Lord.
Though numb with pain Mary arrives at the tomb of her beloved Jesus perhaps hoping to put closure on the tragic events of the past three days. But alas her grief is about to be multiplied at what she discovers. Upon her arrival to the tomb she finds it empty! Her already broken heart likely felt as if someone was now pouring salt into a gaping wound of grief. Just when Mary thought she had no more tears to cry, she begins to weep uncontrollably. But as Mary weeps we are told in John 20:11 NIV that “she bends down to look into the empty tomb.” The stone has been moved, the body is not there and yet she continues to look inside the tomb through the floodgates of her tears.
What was it that caused her to stoop low and gaze into that empty tomb?
What made her keep looking at her Lord’s burial cloth draped on that cold slab of stone?
I believe it was HOPE! Friends, no matter how dead a situation may seem at times never, never, NEVER surrender your hope! God is faithful and somehow in a way that only He is able to do, HE COMES THROUGH! Never early…never late…but at his rightfully appointed time—HE COMES THROUGH!
In John 20:14 NIV we see that as this grief stricken woman stands outside of the tomb weeping she turns around to see a man. She sees a man standing there but in her grief she really does not “SEE” him. Mary does not recognize that she is in fact looking at her Jesus! The man then asks her, “WHY ARE YOU CRYING?” In her overwhelming state of pain and confusion, Mary still does not realize who is speaking to her until verse 16 when Jesus says just one word.
One word is all it took. He simply says, “MARY!” Jesus speaks her name and she immediately cries out “RABBONI!” which means “Teacher.” Yes, the One who had lovingly taught her the value of her life when He redeemed her from her past was speaking her name as only he could! The sound of his voice renewed her hope once again and filled her soul with joy. Unspeakable joy because this was no ordinary morning and this was no ordinary man! It was a Resurrection morning and Jesus, her Lord and her Savior was alive!
Beloved I ask you now…have you been in Mary’s place at one time? Are you there now? Are you staring into an empty tomb of broken promises and lost dreams? Does there seem to be no end to your tears? Have the circumstances of your life suffocated your dreams to the point that all seems lost? Are you trying to make sense of a loss that was never supposed to happen? Well then precious one I have good news for you.
Jesus has a Resurrection morning just for you! Take a moment and TURN AROUND. Stop staring at the empty tomb and look behind you!! Take your eyes off the enemy’s lies and focus on TRUTH! There he is! Jesus is right there, alive and well and he is about to reveal himself to your circumstances! Do not forget what he has taught you for He is still Rabboni. What he did for this woman Mary, he can and he will do for you also. He asked Mary why she was crying and he is asking the same question of you right now. Do not be afraid to tell him. He already knows but he wants to hear your voice again. Rabboni taught Mary the joy of being free from her past and he wants to do the same for you. He gave her hope for her future and he will to do the same for you.
No matter how parched, how dry, how dead this desert season in your life appears, Jesus can still bring life through streams of Living Water. He showed up at the tomb for Mary and he will show up for you! Yes dear one He is about to speak life into those dead places of your life. He knows you intimately and understands all your pain. So turn around, dry your tears and step away from the empty tomb. The grave could not hold the One who died for you. The tomb remains empty today because Your Redeemer, Healer, Friend, Protector, Savior—the very Lover of your soul is alive and he is about to speak your name! Rejoice my friend. Your Redeemer lives!
PS: Do not despair. When all seems lost, dead and buried do not be surprised to see Jesus show up in the midst of your pain and speak your name. Leave a comment with a simple “Pray for me” message. It would be my privilege to do that for you.