Identify as the One Jesus Loves

“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  He asked her, “Woman, 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.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.”  - John 20:11-18 

I LOVE this story! Mary Magdalene is the first human to ever see the risen Lord, I mean talk about an honoring moment!! My favorite thing about this encounter is that at first Mary doesn’t recognize Him. She was overcome with emotion and panic because she believed that someone had taken her Savior’s body away and she could not see Him. But with the simple mention of her name off His lips, everything changed. Her panic turned to excitement and her sorrow turned to joyful love and celebration. Nothing about His appearance had changed, it was through the intimate connection she had in knowing the sound of His voice and the awareness of His presence that comes from the sound of His voice. This is beautiful!! The nature of relationship with Jesus is so intimate that the simple utterance of our name can call us back to the reality of His love and nearness.
 
In times of chaos or deep pain, I tend to get desperate to find something to hold onto. But sometimes, like Mary, the desperation turns into frantic reaching and I overlook the very thing I am looking for, even when He is staring me in the face. Thankfully, Jesus is constantly pursuing us and with the simple whisper of my name, I can look up and see Him smiling at me, inviting me back into the covering of His intimate love and protection.
 
How beautiful is it that we, as followers of Jesus, actually have access to that intimate love every second of every day? Think about it for a moment, let it sink in. I want to invite you to connect with God now (yes right now as you are reading this) and allow Him to draw you back to a place of remembrance of those intimate moments where He knew your name and called you out of whatever rabbit trail you wandered down. Do you have one yet? I can assure you there have been countless times He has called down to you in the middle of your pain and confusion, even if you may not have realized it. So if you can’t think of one, ask Jesus to point out a moment to you. Once you have the moment, recall the feelings it brought up in you: feelings of being known, seen, saved, relieved, comforted, held, led, protected, etc. Whatever feeling it may have brought up in you, know that it is directly connected to an expression of His great love for you. There is hope to cling to in any hard season, in any missteps you might have taken, or in any moment you simply cannot see clearly what is right in front of you. There is hope because of the simple fact that Jesus is Love, and Love knows your name. Love will call out to you when you need a guide, let that hope be the thing that empowers you to live differently in this season of unknown.
 
1 John says “There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out all fear. For fear has to do with punishment.” Jesus actually casts out all fear. Fear doesn’t have any authority here on earth because our punishment was already paid for and Jesus took all authority back when He conquered death. He transformed a grave that once carried heaviness and heartache to a place of hope and Holy ground. And He is still making those transformations in individual hearts every day; His voice is the proof of that transformation and proof of His love for us!

There is a reality He is bringing us into that we are secure, that He is near, and He is speaking. Even in a time of so many unknowns and a literal global pandemic, Jesus is here and He wants to remind us we are secure and we get to identify as the one who Jesus loves! Let that identity be your lifeline in this season. Tune in and listen to Him calling your name and see what He has been trying to hand you in this season, you may find things that you accidentally missed the first look around. Don’t be afraid of the stillness and the quiet, just listen for Him. He is always calling. He is always speaking. And then as He transforms you through this love, I challenge you to go out and show someone else the hope and love you get to cling to. Mary Magdalene didn’t stop at being comforted by her encounter with Jesus, she went from there and proclaimed the truth that Jesus is alive. Without her, people would not have been aware of the truth in that moment. Use the gift of God’s love and voice for you to be a light in a dark time. Spread news of hope and resurrection even when the world hasn’t visibly seen it yet! You will have the authority to do so because you have allowed yourself to go there and experience it, and you can always take people to the places you have already been.  

Author | Tori Kramer

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