If you are in a crowd of people and someone calls out “Hey you!” you’d probably ignore it. After all, you would have no way of knowing if that person is calling after you, or someone else. But if you heard your name being called, you would at least turn around to see who was calling. Nothing grabs our attention like hearing our name—whether it’s in a doctor’s waiting room or as we walk down the street.
When the risen Lord first addressed Mary Magdalene as “woman” she didn’t recognize him. But when he spoke her name, she looked at him, and in that instant recognised her Lord and her Saviour raised from the dead. Imagine how she must have felt, seeing him alive. She had witnessed his death on the Cross, and had helped to lay him out in the tomb; now he stood there, calling her by name. She stopped crying and was filled with joy.
Many men and women of the Old Testament heard God call them by name. Appearing in a burning bush, God called Moses and commissioned him to bring the Hebrews out from Egypt. Abraham was empowered to leave everything behind and undertake a long journey to an unknown land God had promised to give him. Through the prophet Isaiah, God promised all of us that he would give us a new name. No longer would we be called “Desolate” and “Forsaken.” Instead, we are called, “My Delight”.
Our Lord calls us by name every day. When we listen to his voice, as Mary Magdalene did, our hearts are set on fire, and our minds are filled with his truth. We begin to see the direction in which we should go, and we are strengthened to meet life with courage.