There will be many posts about Easter this weekend. The celebration means different things to different people … family time, Easter egg hunts, bunny rabbits, chocolate. But the greatest gift ever given was the sacrifice of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross on that Good Friday two thousand years ago.
As Don and I have read parts of the Easter story in several of the gospels this year, Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection have held even more meaning than in the past. Perhaps it’s because of interring Mom’s ashes two weeks ago. Perhaps it’s because of the tension in our world. But I’ve teared up multiple times … the Cross was empty; the tomb was empty. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on Sunday morning and, seeing Jesus, thought he was the gardener.
“Please sir, if you’ve moved him, tell me where you’ve put him.”
Then Jesus spoke one word to her.
And she recognized him.
And ran to tell the disciples. “I have seen Jesus!”
Talk about a moment!
When I ministered in the LA ghetto, our lives were frequently threatened. Often I went to bed and prayed, not knowing whether I’d waken there on Juliet Street or in heaven. One night I was especially tired, and asked God to wake me in time to go to work.
At 6:30 am I heard my name.
I looked around. There was no visible presence in the room. No more words. But the voice was the sweetest, most loving sound I have ever heard. It rumbled like the rush of many waters and enclosed me in its warmth and beauty. And I wakened to the gift of another day.
So I can imagine just a bit of what Mary must have felt when Jesus called her by name.
Jesus knows you and me by name! When God called Samuel to become his priest, He called him in the night. “Samuel.” Three times.
Every time Samuel got up, thinking it was his mentor, Eli, calling him. Finally Eli realized it was the Lord speaking to Samuel. He advised the boy, and the third time Samuel heard his name, he said “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:9).
And Luke tells us to “…rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20b, NKJV)
What a glorious truth.
Because He lives, all those who have received His free gift of salvation will live with Him in eternity.
Jesus is risen. He calls me by name. And He is coming again.