Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). –John 20:16
Mary had followed Jesus everywhere. She had clung to Him and listened to His teaching. And now He had died and was buried in a tomb. When she discovered a few days later that His body was gone, she immediately jumped to the conclusion that someone had stolen Him. She ran to share this distressing news with the other disciples. And when she returned to the tomb, she was weeping out of sorrow.
It’s so easy to jump to negative conclusions when we don’t understand what is happening. We are distressed and sorrowful over the conclusion we picture in our minds — that something awful is happening, that Jesus has abandoned us, that God is not in control. What if, instead, we were able to transfer our worry to trust? Because the truth is that our Lord never leaves us or forsakes us, He cares for us dearly, and His power is mighty to control every big and small thing in our lives. We can trust the One who is always in control of every detail. We can trust the One who works all things for good.
When Mary did encounter Jesus in His resurrected body, she didn’t recognize Him…until He spoke. All it took was Him speaking her name. He was no stranger — He knew her by name! And she recognized the voice of her Good Shepherd. There’s something comforting about having your name spoken gently by a loved one. It makes you stop your frantic worrying to listen. How much more so when it’s the Savior who has conquered sin and death!
I’ve been meditating on this story, and verse 16 in particular, all week. When I start to feel worried, I imagine Jesus saying to me, “Sarah.” Just in His speaking my name, I know I am His. I know He is with me. I am reminded that He is in control of this. I know He can and will take care of me. And in as many moments as He needs to calm me with His voice, I pray that I will gaze into the face of my Shepherd and rest in Him.