On the first day of the week following Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb where Jesus had been laid. She sees that Jesus’ body is not in the tomb and she is distraught. She encounters Jesus, but does not recognize him, thinking he is the gardener. Though she does not recognize him by sight, she does by the way he says her name. “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’” (John 20:16) It was a sound familiar to her and exclusive to their relationship.
When I was a young boy, my mother called me, “Billy.” When I heard her call me, I didn’t have to see her to know that it was her. My father used to call me “son.” Again, I didn’t have to see him when he addressed me to know that it was him. There was a special relationship and familiarity there. The same is true with my wife, members of my family and close friends.
That is the kind of relationship Jesus wants to have with us – one that is so close, so familiar, so intimate, we don’t need to see him to know he is there. At every moment he stands at the door of our heart waiting to be invited in, ready to embrace us and to offer his friendship, ready to listen to our deepest concerns and offer his wisdom — ready to say our name. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them…his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” He says, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (John 10:3, 4)
How close is your relationship with Jesus? Do you hear his gentle whisper in your thoughts? Do you recognize him when he calls your name?