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By: Larry Shaffer
Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her ‘Mary’! She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboini’, (which means Teacher).
So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalen, a passionate follower of Jesus. He then appeared to the disciples on two occasions in John 20. It seems to me that a worthy study of John 20 would be to consider the words of Jesus, spoken to His followers after His resurrection. The words spoken were few, but very important.
He appeared first to Mary Magdalen at the tomb on the wonderous Sunday morning. At first, she didn’t recognize Him but when He called her by name and said ‘Mary’ her eyes were opened. It’s usually not a monumental occurrence for someone to say your name. This case, I believe, is different.
Remember John 10:3? Which says, The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. Jesus called her by name, she then recognized Him and she fell at His feet and was clinging to him. So much so that Jesus had to say stop clinging to me…. go tell the disciples.
Has Jesus called you by your name? Yes, we know that God loves the world, but what about calling you by your name. A personal calling.
Theologians have categorized grace in two ways; common grace and special grace. Common grace is the general goodness that God has spread across the earth. The beauty of His creation, general health and well-being, the love of family, etc. Ultimately, every good thing comes from God. These graces are shared by all, Christians and non-Christians.
The other category of grace is special grace. Special grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in calling, regenerating, justifying, and sanctifying individual sinners. Special grace is restricted to those who actually come to saving faith in Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus calls His own sheep by name and leads them out, that is not a general grace spread across all mankind. This is the special grace of Jesus, calling an individual by name, opening their eyes to see Him and by faith, they then cling to Him. This is the grace of God that is personally directed toward me and you as individuals.
In the midst of sin and chaos, the lost can nevertheless see and even experience the common grace of God that is cast out over the earth. But in Mary Magdalene’s case, before Jesus called her name, He asked her, Why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? In her ignorance, she replied that she was seeking Jesus’ body. In her ignorance, she didn’t fully understand. But she was seeking Jesus, nevertheless. Then He called her by name and her eyes were opened.
When you seek Jesus and Jesus calls your specific name and you hear it and turn toward Him, He will extend all His power and grace toward you like a laser; as if you are the only person in the world. Has Jesus called your name? Have you turned and truly seen Him? Have you responded by clinging to Him in love, worship and surrender? Lord, may we learn from Mary Magdalene. Amen.