Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 17, 2022

when she heard Him call her name …

She went shopping after that Sabbath’s sun set (Mark 16:1). She’d been there for everything these past few days. Mary Magdalene is the first name mentioned among those who were there for the crucifixion, to see where Jesus was laid in a tomb, to go shopping Saturday night for the spices to anoint His body properly Sunday morning, and in going to the tomb while it was still dark. I’ve often said, and strongly believe, there is something altogether different about the faith and love of those who know most truly of what (and how much) they’ve been forgiven – the profound depth of their darkness and brutal bane of their shame. I believe this was true of Mary and the beautiful mess of the journey from who she was when God made her, to when Jesus found her, and then healed and redeemed her. I’m inclined to believe Mary knew better than most the power of Jesus in her life.

The disciple whom Jesus loved (I’ve come to smile widely and truly appreciate John describing himself that way) tells the story of Resurrection morning like this:

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
John 20:1 (ESV)

She went with a group last night to buy and prepare the spices, then came with a few others this morning to use them. One of the gospel accounts (Mark) reveals a conversation between the women as they went. “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” they wondered to each other. I also smile widely here and join those of you who can tell a story or four of your own that sounds an awful lot like that one. “Oh yeah, that gigundo stone. Hmmm, didn’t think of that!”

They arrived at the tomb and found the stone rolled away. As John tells it, Mary’s instinct was to take off running to tell Peter and “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2). They also took off running, with Mary following close behind, and arrived to discover what she said was true. The others left after a short time, but, in her unspeakable grief, Mary stayed behind. She was weeping outside the tomb but had the courage or compel to stoop down and look inside. She saw two angels. What must that have been like amid all she’d been through these past few days? How do you process seeing angels? And what does one do when the angels speak … and ask you a question? We know what Mary did. She answered them.

After telling the angels the source of her sorrow, Mary turned and saw Someone she didn’t recognize. He asked her the angel’s question again and added one of His own. Now, we all know the story and we know it was Jesus, but Mary does not. She’s been with Jesus, day after day in the most intense and average of moments for too many days to count. She’s heard Him speak at the top of His lungs to a multitude, tell stories to a few around a dinner table, and talk to her personally in calling out the seven demons who possessed her. Was it just the overload of her recent yesterdays and this morning? Could she simply not see clearly through her tears? Had the temptation toward hopelessness produced a din that drowned out the voice she knew so well? Whether it was because of her consuming sadness or (most likely, and another topic for another day) His new countenance, Mary did not recognize the One who had become her everything.

Thinking Jesus was the tomb’s gardener, she answered His question with an impassioned ask. “Sir, …  if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Now, this is the part where I am eternally grateful to be writing this to you. For, in a few seconds, I would utterly come undone if I was to read the fifth word aloud.

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
John 20:16a (ESV)

In what was undoubtedly the most rapturous moment of her life, Mary’s Everything spoke her name. And she instantly knew who He was. And she instantly knew who she was again. I am wrecked at the thought of that moment, placing myself in her place at His tomb. Her precious friend, her Lord and Savior, Jesus, is not dead! He’s alive! He’s alive! Make no mistake, forgiveness and redemption were essential and a treasure to Mary. But what happened in her heart and life when she heard Him call her name?!

All week, we have focused on Jesus. It is always right and best to do so, and that is especially true this past week and, on this day, when we celebrate His resurrection. As an audible undertone, the focus on Jesus has been centered on His humanity. Is there any more poignant and powerful experience of Jesus, and His humanity, than when He chooses for His focus to be on you (question mark excluded intentionally). As He rode into town on the first day of last week and looked into the faces of the pilgrims, He saw you. In the garden, as He prayed and sweat blood, He saw you. In becoming sin on the cross and experiencing his Father’s forsaking, He saw you. In speaking Mary’s name on Resurrection morning, He spoke yours. Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me. He is risen, my dear brother and sister!

p.s. I want to first say the sincerest “Thank you!” for walking alongside this week and reading what He’s shared with me. It is a great honor, privilege and responsibility to speak His name and truth to another, and I am eternally grateful to Him and you for that chance once again. I want to leave you with a song that has become my most favorite on this most sacred of days of remembering. Many may already have heard it, but I encourage you to, sometime today, listen (and watch) in worship. Is He Worthy? We sing together in one voice … He is!



  1. Thank you Mark !! What a great week of writings and a wonderful way to prepare for …… He is Risen !

  2. His heart beats!! 🙂 He is worthy!! 🙂 And He calls my name!! 🙂

    Thanks for all the observation, thought, prayer, care, time, dependence and giving/sharing over the past week!!

  3. Mark.

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