JOHN 20:10-18:WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Doctor R.W.Dale was a British Congregational pastor and theologian. One day he was preparing an Easter sermon when the truth that Christ truly is alive hit him forcibly. He had known the doctrine Iin his mind for years, but that day it overwhelmed his heart. From then on ‘’the living Christ’’ became the theme of his preaching, and he got his congregation to sing a Easter hymn every Sunday morning: ‘’…Sunday,you know, is the day on which Christ left the dead.’’
It’s been pointed out that it appears we have a kind of ‘lying in state’ in (12) – but with the body missing. (It’s interesting that a little while earlier, Peter and John had apparently not seen these angels. Here is another example of that ‘ring of truth’ so evident in the gospels. Someone wanting to manufacture a story would probably want to erase such an inconvenient detail). There was no body in the tomb because Jesus stood outside it. He’s alive. There was something different about Jesus in His resurrection appearances. People often didn’t recognise Him immediately. That was the case with Mary, and we can’t help but smile wryly at her words spoken to the Lord (15b). Jesus had said earlier, in His famous ‘’good shepherd’’ discourse: ‘’…his sheep follow him because they know his voice…they do not recognise a stranger’s voice’’ (10:4,5). Again He said: ‘’My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me’’ (10:27). Hearing Jesus speak your name makes all the difference. It did for Mary; it did also for Saul of Tarsus when he was ‘’still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples’’ (Acts 9:1). He was on his way to Damascus, armed with arrest warrants to put Christians behind bars. But while on his journey he ‘’felt the Hand of the Heavenly Policeman’ on his shoulder. He was apprehended by Jesus and taken into custody. The Lord spoke to him by name (Acts 9:4), and everything turned around from that point.
When you hear Jesus speak, you know who He is (16), and you discover what He wants you to do (17). Both Mary and Saul heard His voice and received a commission (Acts 9:15, 16). There can be a tendency for believers to ‘’hold on’’ to Jesus, but our job is to ‘’tell’’. Mary did not waste any more time standing around weeping. She was swift to pass on the good news (18), becoming an ‘apostle’ to the apostles. ‘’Mary not only shared the fact of His resurrection and that she had seen Him personally, but she also reported the words that He had spoken to her. Again, we see the importance of the Word of God. Mary could not transfer her experience over to them, but she could share the Word, and it is the Word that generates faith (Rom.10:17). The living Christ shared His living Word (1 Peter1:23-25).’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (NT)’, P.312.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please fill my heart with so much love for you, and so much joy because of you, that my heart empties out in words about you. It thrills me to know that you know me by name. Thank you.