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A few years back, I read through the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in John on the night before Easter. For the most part, I did not have a very emotional response. Mostly, I was thinking thoughts like, “I’d never noticed that before,” or, “I wonder why that happened that way.” I was learning, but the story wasn’t really coming alive to me.

Then I got to the part where Mary Magdalene was outside the tomb crying because she did not know what had happened to Jesus’ body. While she cried, Jesus appeared to her, but she didn’t recognize him at first. Here’s how the New International Reader’s Version relates that scene:

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. So she said, “Sir, did you carry him away? Tell me where you put him. Then I will go and get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned to him. Then she cried out in the Aramaic language, “Rabboni!” Rabboni means Teacher (John 20:15,16).

Those verses gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. As soon as Mary heard Jesus speak her name, she knew Him. Her despair was swallowed up in joy. Imagine the peace she must have felt. Jesus was alive! And He cared enough to call her by name! How full of love His voice must have been! How triumphant both of them must have felt! What a moment! Reading those verses, I wished I could’ve been there.

Then I thought: “Wait. I have a moment just as wonderful ahead of me.” Some day, I’m going to meet my risen Savior. When I do, maybe He will speak my name. Even if He doesn’t, I will feel as much love and triumph as Mary felt that first Easter morning — maybe more. I will share in the same victory they celebrated outside that empty tomb — the greatest victory of all — the victory Jesus won when He rose from the grave and defeated sin and death for anyone who will believe in Him.

I believe. Do you?

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 NIV.

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