“Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?”
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
It’s one of those things that get’s rarely talked about, but if so it is of delineating importance: Is the resurrection real, did Jesus really physically raise from the dead? Or is it just symbolic ?
At first glance it is one of those, what does it matter ?, type of things. So what if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead ? Come on, he already did all the miracle things, all the teaching, for heaven’s sake he even did a pretty gruesome death, so why do we need that one more thing ? Can’t we simply let him rest in peace ?
There is of course the conspiracy alternative, he actually didn’t rise, the disciples just stole the body so they could claim he did… ok, but really ? True God and then he let them get away with something like that…? Please.
I am sure there are a gazillion reasons of why it is import, and yes I like consistency so he better followed through with rising from dead after pretty much announcing it all over… but there is another point that is important for me today. And his behaviour towards Mary Magdalene is emblematic for it.
When I heard the passage read out loud, I wondered why does he use her name ? If the point is to announce that he is indeed risen he could just pretty much tell her as a representative of his followers and get on with it.
But no, he announces his resurrection by calling her by name. And that call is what makes the resurrection so important. Because otherwise how can we have a true relationship with him. And with a simply thing, calling her by name, he does create that relationship and she realizes that he is real and really risen from the dead.
If he is simply symbolically risen, then he can’t call us by name, he can’t enter a relationship with us (ok he is God, but it isn’t personal, it would always just be us lowly humans and his exalted majesty).
So, thank you for calling me by name