Jesus Called Her by Name — Jo 20:1-18 — Easter Sunday April 5 2015

Like Mary Magdalene, when we learn to perceive God’s voice, we discover God’s call to us and the purpose and meaning of our life.

Mary Magdalene is prominent in the gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.  In her own life, it appears that Mary Magdalene had been associated with some evil, or even, associated with some great evil.  For Mary Magdalene it appears that something must have gone badly wrong in her life.  If that is the case, then Mary Magdalene must have wondered whether she had any worth.  She had seven demons cast out of her – so had known Jesus’ healing.

To the apostles and to the disciples, it was the appearances of Jesus that clarified the meaning of the empty tomb.  The honor of experiencing the first of those appearances went to Mary Magdalene.

Sometimes we wonder whether we have any worth.  From God there is a different word, however.  “Fear not, I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name” says God in the Book of Isaiah chapter 53 verse 1.

Resonating with that word of God, we have our gospel reading this Easter morning.  In the Gospel of John chapter 20 verse 16, we have these words:  “Jesus said to [Mary Magdalene], ‘Mary’.”  In the name of God, Jesus called to Mary Magdalene by her own name.

Up to that moment, there in the garden, Mary Magdalene did not recognize the resurrected Jesus, or, did not know who Jesus was.  Yet with that sound of her name, she turned to [Jesus] and said, ‘Rabbuni!’ [The word ‘Rabbuni’ means, ‘My great one!’].”

God says, “I have called you by name.”  Jesus called Mary Magdalene by her name.  Mary responded in kind.

People confront their own demons, by God’s power, day by day.  Here, Mary had to discover her own inner freedom.

In the movie Shadowlands we have the story of C S Lewis’ deep sadness over the death of his wife Joy Davidman.  But in Christ, Charles found life and calling beyond that tragedy, as Mary Magdalene found new life and calling in Jesus.  Lewis continued to be one of the great Christian writers of the 20th Century.

It was the same for Moses – after murdering an Egyptian guard and 40 years isolation in the wilderness.  He heard God’s call to him and his calling to lead the Israelites out of Israel in the Exodus.

“Fear not, I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name” says God.

Mary Magdalene knew the resurrected Jesus, after he called her name.  “The sheep hear his voice as he calls by name those that belong to him” (John 10:3).  This is also what we have in baptism as we are baptized by the name we are known as Christians.

“Fear not, I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name” says God in the Book of Isaiah chapter 53 verse 1.  Mary Magdalene heard God in Jesus call her name.  Like the child Samuel, due to become the great judge, we have to learn to hear God’s voice and calling.  Can you hear God calling to you by your name today?

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