“Calling Your Name” by Katie Taylor
“Who is it you are looking for?” (John 20:15)
When Jesus asks Mary Magdalene this question in the garden after she discovers the empty tomb, I wonder what His voice sounded like. I wonder if He tried to fight back a winsome smile from bursting across His face. When he said “it is finished,” He had to have known this moment would come, but I wonder if He knew it would be this glorious after tasting death. Can you imagine the peace radiating from His eyes? I wonder if there was a slight bit of humor in His tone.
Mary was someone He knew very well, someone whose demons He’d sent back to the very hell He’d now overcome. Someone He loved dearly and who had been loyal to Him when the others scattered. I wonder if He wanted to shout out, “look, it’s me!” from the top of his lungs to the first one who would ever hear His resurrected voice.
He could have simply identified Himself. But He didn’t. He graciously and oh, so sweetly wanted her to make the discovery herself. The first word out of His mouth after He asks “who is it you are looking for” is perhaps the one that draws the most emotion from me out of the entire Bible.
He calls her by her name. And at that moment, she gets it! He didn’t tell her who He was, but that He knew who she was And then she realized everything He’s been saying all along was true. I believe that’s exactly what He does with each of us. We don’t know the resurrected Jesus until He calls our name.
I remember the day He called mine. I was in a church and moved by a teaching on freedom from shame. I learned for the first time that shame comes from the enemy who whispers our identity through our past sins, and that we don’t have to listen to that voice in light of the finished work of the cross. It was very simple, yet profound and new. It moved me to confess a sin that had been haunting me for ten years.
Darkness came to light as a woman I’d never met prayed over me and then hugged me tight through my tears as she covered me in Scripture. I don’t remember what she said, but I pictured Jesus on the cross. I pictured my sin there on Him, and for the first time, I saw I was free of it. It’s as if we made eye contact and He said,
And then I believed what He had been saying all along was true.
Katie, your sins are white as snow.
Katie, as far as the east is from the west, so far I have removed your transgressions.
Katie, I remember it no more.
Katie, you are free indeed.
Katie, I have put a new spirit in you.
Katie, no shadow of shame will darken your face; you will be radiant with joy.
That was Easter for me. It was the day I found Jesus, and the day He found me. It was the day He became alive to me, and the day I ran out of my grave. It was the day I saw the light, and the day He says I became it.
His calling my name isn’t about a powerful moment; it’s about a powerful God. A powerful God whose love for me outdoes my sin. A powerful God who became a prisoner so that I could be set free.
Easter is a special time. It’s when we celebrate the resurrected King who overcame death and sin forever. It’s an annual reminder of His suffering and obedience on our behalf, and the new life He brings us.
I am amazed thinking of the celebrations that will take place across the globe today in all different languages. I am amazed at a God who so loved the world that He sent us Jesus.
But I am even more amazed at how He announced the most important victory of all times to the world. He could have come with thousands of angels in the middle of the sky so everyone would know. He could have proven He was who He claimed to be in a single second to the very ones who had just denied and crucified Him. He could have at least appeared to all of His disciples on that day. Or orchestrated this after the invention of the camera so we could still replay the scene now. But He didn’t…
He chose Mary.
He chose a woman to share His news in a day when a woman’s testimony was not even valid in court. She was a nobody to the world, but yet He revealed Himself for the very first time to her, and we know her name today. She may have been an outcast to society, but Jesus chose to include her in this most special moment because Mary knew her need for Him. He called the name of this one woman and the world changed forever.
The risen Jesus is no different today than on that first Easter. He still reveals Himself to one person at a time. And each time a heart is redeemed, the world changes forever.
I pray that on this glorious day, you would hear the winsome voice of the One being celebrated. I pray as you look for Him, you would find Him looking for you. The One who overcame the whole world; He calls you by name.
Oh, what a Savior!
*Ref: John 20:15-16, Isaiah 1:18, Hebrews 8:12, Ezekiel 36:26, John 8:36, Psalm 34:5, Matthew 5:14, Psalm 103:12
Written by~Katie Taylor