Saturday, May 06, 2017

It's What She Heard

It was not what Mary Magdalene saw that convinced her of Jesus’ resurrection – it was what she heard. She had come to the tomb early on the first day of the week while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been rolled away. While that would be an indicator of an empty tomb – and the resurrection He foretold – Mary saw it as a sign that somebody had stolen Jesus’ body. She ran and told the disciples that Jesus’ body had been taken. 

Then she saw another sign of His resurrection – Peter and John ran to the tomb, entered it, and came out as changed men. John “saw and believed” (John 20:8b). Once fearful and disillusioned, they ran to tell others. Mary saw the transformation with her own eyes but this did not convince her either. 

Mary also looked into the tomb and saw two angels seated, one at the foot, and the other at the head of where Jesus’ body had been, with the strips of linen laying between. While her eyes fell on the same evidence that John saw, she still had no idea that her beloved Lord had risen. 

Finally Mary beheld the ultimate vision with her own eyes – Jesus. She turned around and saw Him. But her eyes deceived her yet again. No doubt, in her grief, and in the finite nature of our human minds, she could not comprehend that she was looking at the resurrected Jesus. But something happened next that suddenly opened her eyes, and it wasn’t what she saw. It was what she heard. And all it took was one single word. Jesus said her name. 

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary’. She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher)” (John 20:16).

What was it about that word that brought the light to her eyes? No doubt many people had called Mary by name, maybe even that morning as she walked to the tomb. It wasn’t the word, but the voice. When Jesus said her name, she realized it was He. He had called her by name before. She had spent so much time with Jesus that she knew the sound of His voice. She had followed Him and listened to Him teach. She had heard His stories, stood by as He challenged the Pharisees; she was familiar with the lilt of his laugh, and the passion in his prayers. She had heard Him whisper hope and forgiveness to her, and lift her to a place of dignity.  His voice was the sound of grace. Doubt vanished when Jesus said Mary’s name and she immediately reached for Him. She was convinced. 

Are we as fine-tuned to Jesus’ voice that with a single word, we immediately turn to Him? We live in a perplexed society offering myriad versions of truth with many voices clamouring for our attention. Even within the walls of our churches, Jesus is re-cast, re-interpreted, re-invented. How do we discern the voice of the One true Jesus? The more time we spend time with Him, like Mary did, listening to His Word, enjoying His stories, marvelling at His ordered creation, soaking in the love and fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ, the more accurately we will recognize His voice. “…He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice” (John 10:3b,4,5). 

Mary only needed to hear Him say her name. Jesus said to Thomas, who insisted on seeing Him first before believing,“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed(John 20:29B). All we need is to hear His voice, just the whisper of our name. It is when we hear Him, that we finally see Him. And, like Mary, then we will go and tell others, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18).

All scriptures have been taken from the NIV.

Pamela Mytroen

Pam has discovered that the best way to solve a problem is to write a short story, a blog, a Sunday School lesson, or a devotional. After that is finished, she teaches English, spends time with family, including two grandchildren, reads thrillers, or bakes brownies and pie. And by then, there are several more problems to solve.


Peter Black said...

Thank you for sharing these lovely devotional insights, Pam. (I had commented on your post days ago, but wasn't aware till now that it somehow got lost.)
Earlier on the day that I first read it, I'd spoken at a retirement centre service on the same account of Mary Mag's personal encounter with our Risen Lord, and so you carried me into a nice afterglow! :) ~~+~~

fudge4ever said...

That's nice to hear, Peter. Thank you!
Pam M.

Glynis said...

Such a great story with plenty to contemplate. I take this sentence as an entire lesson:


Mary took a little convincing and as your story progressed along with Scripture, I found myself wondering when Mary would finally get it. Ummm ... then I remember my own thick-headedness and how long it takes me to 'get it' too!

Thanks for making me think, Pam.

fudge4ever said...

Hi Glynis, it seems that I need to be reminded over and over again before I "get it"!
Pam M.

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