Chasing History – He Calls Your Name

I am linking up again with One Girl for her Chasing History Series.  Won’t you come on over and say hello? 

“Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting nearby watching.”  (Mark 27:61NLT)

The wait must have been interminable.  Mary Magdalene had just witnessed the death of her beloved Saviour.  And, His was no ordinary death. His was a death reserved for criminals, the degenerates of society, the thieves, the murderers and the violent.  He would be crucified with sinners for sinners to fulfill the prophecy that echoed through the ages.

“I will give him the honours of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners.  He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.”  (Isaiah 53:12 NLT)

And I wonder what went through her mind as her heart, numb with grief, beat a tattoo of being left behind. Her Rabbi had left her – she was part of the inner circle.  Who would continue to help her heart uncover the mysteries of salvation?  Who?

I wonder if in that moment before the twilight, before the pull of duty to the Sabbath and its rituals, she replayed those final moments in her mind.  As Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus laid the the lifeless body of Jesus in that dark and lonely tomb did she hear every mocking jeer?  Did she see every drop of blood fall from his body and seep into the ground beneath the cross?  Did she witness the Son of Man gasp for air as He slowly drowned in His own bodily fluids?  I wonder, were these the images that would forever be etched on the backs of her eyelids so that even in sleep she would not be able to escape their horrors?

And we don’t know, because we are not told, but I’m sure that as the sun began to set she struggled to leave this place where she caught the last glimpse of her Saviour.

But she needed to get home. The Sabbath was considered to be the time from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.  An entire day of feeling useless.  Feeling empty.  Feeling lost.  

Perhaps it was these feelings that prompted Mary Magdalene and the others to hit the markets on that Saturday night to purchase the spices needed for burial.  One last gift, an offering, to bring to the Man who changed everything for her.

“The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus’ body.” (Mark 16:1 NLT).

And then she waited again before heading back to the tomb.

“Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.” (John 20:1)

Shock and fear would have shook her to her core. Where was He?  What had happened to Jesus?  Who rolled the stone away?

She needed help so she ran to find Peter who came running with one other disciple.  What waited for them when they arrived were nothing but burial cloths, laying exactly as they would have laid if Jesus’ body was still in them.  A cocoon of death left on a hard slab of rock. The cloth that would have covered Jesus’ face lay just to the side. 

The bible says that these disciples “saw and believed” (John 20) and “then they went home.”

What?  The Son of Man, Jesus Christ – the same man with whom they have shared life these past few years is not where they left him just days before and they went home?  They “saw and believed” that it was just as Jesus said it was going to be – after three days He would rise from the dead – and they went home?

They went home. Except for Mary.

She wept.  Undone with grief and confusion.   She wept. 

I wonder did she sense the presence behind her? Did she swallow the sobs that were convulsing her body?  Did she pause before she turned around? 

Right behind her stood Jesus.  Jesus, her Saviour.  The same man who may have, three years earlier, looked her deep in the eyes as He called the demons out of her.  The same man who would have welcomed her into His ministry and been a source of hope and life for a woman who would not have otherwise known freedom.

He stood right behind her and she did not recognize Him.  Perhaps the last visions of Jesus are too fresh in her mind to be able to see past the glorious resurrection power that would have surrounded Him. Perhaps her mind, in an effort to protect itself from more heartache, could not fathom a risen Saviour.

But then He calls her by name.  He says but one word, “Mary.”  (John 20)

Imagine.  The name you never thought you’d hear again – in THAT way.  The way that only someone who loves you deeply can say it.  Her first impulse is to run to Him – to throw herself on Him – she is so overcome with Joy.   But she is told that she cannot cling to Him – because He has not yet ascended to His Father.  I’d like to think that He loved Mary Magdalene so much that He waited, just a bit longer, in order to free her mind from her overwhelming grief.  The Son of Man knew what she needed in that moment and in His everlasting love for her He met that need.

And how many times do we doubt the word of God?  How many times does the Son of Man stand before us in His glory, the evidence of His sacrifice there on his hands, his feet, his side, only to have us forget the mercies of the cross?  How many times do we stand with our backs turned, weeping our anxiety and fear? 

He has called you friend.  He has called you brother.  He has called you sister.  He has called you beloved.

He has called your name.
 

I would like to take a moment to point  you all in the direction of an incredible book that helped me to see past what I thought to be true and challenged my misconceptions.  Liz Curtis Higgs’ book Unveiling Mary Magdalene is a masterfully woven allegorical tale and study that pulls together impeccably researched facts from the Bible, the Talmud and other ancient texts to paint a more accurate picture of one of the most mis-represented women of the Bible.

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Just beautiful! So many of us identify Mary Magdalene by who she was “before” Christ than her “after”, but He knew it all and loved her deeply. Great post!

  2. Beautiful!!! I just love it when He says her name… it reminds me that He says my name with that much love too!

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