“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” John 20:15-16 (NIV, 1978)
Little is known about the young woman called Mary Magdalene. Luke’s gospel records that she and Jesus first met when He delivered her from seven demons who had possessed her. All we know is that, from that moment on, she was among Jesus’ most devoted followers. She supported His ministry financially from what resources she had. Her name appears among the small list of recognizable individuals who were present at the cross. She was the first to encounter the resurrected Jesus on the first Easter morning. Mary’s faith was as special as her story.
Although Mary Magdalene is most frequently associated with the story surrounding Jesus’ Passion week, we know it is likely that she would have followed Him from the moment He restored her life. Was she there to eat the bread and fish when He fed the five thousand? Being an invested supporter of Jesus, was she excited when thousands pursued Him and equally heartbroken when they all turned away? As Jesus had changed her so, too, would He change the world! But, in a moment, He was gone.
It is unlikely that she understood the significance of the cross and its impact on human history. Nevertheless, she understood grief and the importance of “being there” for those who loved the man who had changed her life. It would never be said of her that she abandoned Jesus in His darkest hour even though their story would not end as she had hoped.
On that first Easter morning, Mary went to see Jesus but, instead, He surprised her in her most desperate moment to remind her that everything she wanted to believe about Him was true. He made His victory known to her by saying one precious word—her name. Yes, there is hope for the world because He is alive, but there is peace for me because He still speaks my name in a way that only I can hear to remind me He sees me, knows me, and loves me. With God, it’s always personal!