What’s In A Name?

Names carry good and bad connotations. Someone can know of you, and not really “know”you. Identity is something we all strive for. To listen to the sermon, click here.

What about the name Mary Magdalene? Does that bring a certain connotation to mind? We may read things or hear people talk about someone that aren’t true. But, I think we really have to get to know a person before we can get a true picture of their character. When I’d hear people talk about Mary Magdalene, they’d refer to her as a prostitute. But when I started digging into the Bible more, that’s not what I was seeing. So when our pastor included her in his sermon this week, I felt like I had been on the right track.

But, I digress. Back to the sermon. Mary Magdalene was with Jesus’ fairly early in his ministry. She and several other women travelled with him and the Apostles. She was one of the women who used their own resources to finance Jesus’ ministry. She was a witness to his crucifixion, in the group of women who witnessed him being put in the tomb. She witnessed his resurrection. This is a woman who is truly committed to Jesus and his apostles.

In 591, Pope Gregory the Great delivered a homily. He is the one who first made this connection of Mary Magdalene to the woman at the feet of Jesus that was called a prostitute. This sexualization against women has continued throughout history. But these are the words of a man. Certainly not a proclamation by Jesus.

By planting a seed of doubt in a person’s mind, one can easily persuade people to see someone differently. By not knowing Mary tarnishes her witness to the resurrection. She shared her wealth for the good of spreading the news that Jesus was the Messiah. The reputation this gave Mary devalues her and the role of women. It gives Satan a foothold to plant doubt about the resurrection,

Jesus knows us by name and he will reveal himself to us when it is time.

11But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels…

John 20:11-12

Mary doesn’t have the confidence that the men have to run inside. She’s looking for her Jesus. It doesn’t seem possible to her that he’s alive.

14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

John 20:14

She had at first, taken him to be the gardener. When he said her name, she turned to him in excitement as she recognized him.

Sometimes Jesus will stand right in front of us and we don’t recognize him. He’s there in our dark times even though we don’t realize it.

It doesn’t matter why she didn’t recognize him. Sometimes when we’re expecting one thing and it’s in a form we don’t expect, we might have trouble seeing the reality.

In the same way that Mary recognized Jesus because he knew her, we too can see him. He knows us.

Jesus takes on a new form now. He’s different now. And that’s something we can be thankful for!

The first sermon preached in the Christian church was preached by Mary as she shared about the risen Savior.

The disciples didn’t grasp who he was. Why should we think that we could?

Stop looking everywhere for what only Jesus can give you. You won’t find him in “things”.

Don’t let the world tell you who you are. Stop looking for your identity in everything else.

He’s doing a new thing. Don’t cling to the Jesus in the tomb or on the cross. He’s not there. Cling to the newness of this risen Jesus. See what he has in store for you.

What does all this mean?

  • He knows you by name
  • He knows your story
  • He knows that you’ve faked knowing him in the past
  • He knows that you left him for a time.
  • He knows you by name
  • He knows your core
  • He knows your potential
  • He knows you promises
  • He knows the plans he has for you

I hope you’ve been able to learn more about Jesus and your relationship. It should be what you pursue every day.

In Faith,


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