by Carolyn Schmitt

There are a number of women named “Mary” mentioned in the New Testament:  Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary the mother of James and Joseph;
Mary, Martha’s sister; Mary the wife of Clopas; Mary the mother of John Mark; and Mary Magdalene.

Mary was a popular name in Jesus’ time. In my research as to the meaning of the name “Mary”, there are several: “Bitter Tears” is often referenced as well as  “Beloved”.  There are also descriptions of how some of them, along with other named women who followed Jesus, helped support him and the disciples
in their travels.

With the exception of Martha’s sister, Mary, the others were part of the group of women who watched from a distance while Jesus was crucified.

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. Matthew 27:55-56 NIV

Even from the cross, Jesus saw his mother and made provision of a home and family for her.  Calling her “Woman” was a term of endearment in Jesus’ time.  

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:25-27 NIV

I can imagine what a comfort for Mary Magdalene to have someone, even a gardener ask her why she was crying and even using the same name, “Woman”,
that Jesus used to address his mother from the cross.

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 20:15-18 NIV

I can well imagine how Mary’s tear-streaked face lighted up when she heard Jesus call her by name and she immediately realized who he was.

Recently my son and I went to a music presentation put on by an organization for whom we had served as sound techs at Solid Grounds coffee shop prior to the Covid shut down in the spring of 2020. It was a joy to see the faces of so many people light up as we walked in and to know our faces radiated delight at seeing the many friends we knew, but hadn’t seen for years.  To call each other by name and to catch up a little with our lives was so good. 

As I thought about it later, I thanked our Lord for this pleasure he knew I needed at the end of a hard week. I felt known and called by name and loved by Jesus in a very practical way. How about you? Do you see ways in which God brings light into your life in small, unexpected events?  Ask Jesus to show you how to see what he may have for you today and thank him for knowing what you need.

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