He Knows Your Name [3-29-20]


Click the video to play.


Worship begins at around the 7 minute mark and the sermon begins around 27 minutes in.


Jesus called Mary by name. She watched him die. She watched them take his body and place it in the tomb. She knew a rock had been placed to close the opening to the tomb. Three days later she thought she was talking to a gardener. But then he Jesus called her by name. And she answered, "Rabboni," which literally means "my dear rabbi."


Mary had heard his voice in life. And now she hears it in death. I wonder what it would have been like to hear the voice of Jesus. If you are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, he has called you by name. Just because you didn't audibly hear him call your name, he has called you by name.


The moment Jesus called her by name, Mary knew it was him and she believed he had been resurrected.


What must it have been like for Mary to hear Jesus' voice, after she had seen him die? I've never heard Jesus' voice. But for us, that's not the most important thing. Have you, through his words in the Bible, heard that Jesus wants to be involved in every circumstance of your life? Sometimes we forget, don't we? We go through parts of our day where we've stopped listening to Jesus Christ speaking our name in every circumstance. We have a momentary lapse of reason, where we forget he wants to be personally involved in our circumstances. That's where moments of fear or despair or worry come from. Jesus wants to be involved in what you're facing. When you spend time in prayer and reading the Bible, you hear Jesus speak your name in every circumstance. It usually happens a little bit at a time. A little more tomorrow than yesterday. A little more this month than last month. That's the good news. We grow in confidence and joy as we hear Jesus Christ speak our name.


Here's something you might want to remember:

JESUS CHRIST SPEAKS YOUR NAME EVERY DAY IN EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE.

Here's something I've never understood. Autographs. And photos taken with celebrities. Why? What's the point? I don't get it.


Which leads us to a guy named Dennis. I read about Dennis in what can only be described as a profile in weirdness.


Dennis was a fanatical fan of Elvis Presley. One of the greatest tragedies in Dennis' life happened when Elvis died. After that he had his face surgically altered and his hair restyled so he could look more like Elvis. He made a little side money by joining a bazillion other Elvis impersonators. Here's what Dennis said in an interview about his Elvis passion:


Elvis Presley has been an idol of mine since I was five years old {I think we all had a friend like that}. I have every record he ever made twice over. I have his pictures by the thousands. It was embarrassing to me when I was in school. The kids were always teasing me. The teacher would always send me to the office because my two top buttons were always unbuttoned. I'd button them in the office but then I'd unbutton them again when nobody was looking. I never got to meet Elvis Presley. I saw him on the stage four times. Once I tried to get up on the stage and...

...once I stood on the wall of Graceland and tried to see him. For twelve hours I stood there trying to get a glimpse of him. But he had so many people around him that I never got close.

That's modern day idolatry. And it's not limited to singers and actors. Would that people were as passionate about following Jesus as they are about their favorite college football team. I'm trying not to be too judgmental. It's an observation backed up by experience. And it's not just sports. Fanaticism runs the gamut, from celebrities to eating habits to product preferences.


It all falls under the umbrella of modern-day idolatry.

Idolatry is when you take something and put it in the place of God.

Sometimes we do it with a person. Or food. Or a hobby. Or an attitude. None of those things are wrong in and of themselves. Except when they get more devotion than God. Are you with me on that?


Here's something that somehow fits in all this:


good news bad news

The only thing that really matters in life…when all else is stripped away…is to hear Jesus Christ call you by name.


Mary goes to the empty tomb and minutes later Jesus is there, calling her by name. Any time you are facing a trial or a temptation or a tragedy, remember Mary's moment. John wants you to know that Jesus calls your name, too. In any situation or circumstance…whatever tomb you're standing outside of, Jesus is there with you. He knows you by name. He has been calling as you pray. He has been calling you as you read the Bible. You don't have to stand on a fence, hoping to get a glimpse of him. John has shown us the picture of the resurrected Lord.

Because Jesus died and was resurrected, we can have the relationship that rescues us from times of trouble and feeds our soul.

Amen?


So here's where we're at. Mary is the first to see the resurrected Lord. God honors her with the encounter and the task to go back and tell the others. Mary is the first witness to the resurrection and the first evangelist for telling the story.


Jesus had a message for Mary. It was simple and powerful. Jesus said to her,

"Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father."

Make no mistake. There's nothing Scooby-doo-ish going on here, like some mystery that needs to be solved. It's really quite elegant in its simplicity. Jesus isn't saying it's wrong to touch him. He's simply saying they both have things to do. Mary has to go tell the others what she has seen and heard. And Jesus has other places to go and other people to see.


Then Jesus said something interesting. It's easy to miss:

Go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

Back in chapter 15 Jesus gave his disciples the honor of calling them his friends. Then he calls them his disciples and his followers. Verse 17 is the first time he calls them his brothers.


Why? I think the resurrection changed the whole family relationship. Remember, the resurrection is verification of the truth that Jesus' death on the cross saved us from our sins. God raised Jesus from death so we might believe, once and for all, that our sin has been forgiven and we have been made right with God. Therefore, all believers are now part of God's forever family. We are Jesus' brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ is our brother.

There's a family relationship because of the power of the cross and resurrection.

In the book of Romans, Paul reminds us that the power of the resurrection means we are adopted into God's family. Jesus is telling us that we are in God's forever family. We have the same Father, but a different relationship with Him. Jesus' relationship with the Father is dramatically different from ours. But He's the same Father. We're in the same family. We share the same inheritance - eternity. That's the post-resurrection relationship we have with Jesus.


Finally, what does Mary say to the other disciples? "I have seen the Lord." That's what I want for my life. That's what I want for your life. To see the Lord's direction for our lives. To see what He wants for us. To see His comfort in our hurt. To see His forgiveness when we sin. To see His will in every decision. Where do you want to see the resurrected Lord? Everywhere.


As we close, here are some practical things to think about.


We all need to see the name of Jesus as real in our lives. I encourage you this week to thank Jesus for what he's doing in your life. Say, "Jesus, thank you for your forgiveness." "Jesus, thank you for your comfort." "Jesus, thank you correcting my bad attitude." "Jesus, thank you for giving me a generous spirit." And so on. Here's how that plays out in my life. I'm more than a little bit claustrophobic. Ten years ago I had to have an MRI. I couldn't take a sedative. As I was trapped in that tube, I kept singing praise songs and repeating, over and over, thank you, Jesus. I made is through without kicking out the walls. Thank Jesus for working in your life. All the time. Everywhere.


We're going to close with a time of prayer. We're going to focus on the fact that the ability to see the resurrected Lord isn't something that only happened 2,000 years ago. It didn't end with Mary and the other disciples. That's one of the reasons we worship. To experience the Risen Christ. To focus on the Risen Lord. To see Jesus. As the old hymn puts it, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on his wonderful face, and the things of earth

will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace."


Let's pray:


Heavenly Father, we are desperate to see you.

We are desperate to know that you work in our lives.

Like Mary, there are things we don't understand.

There are things that frighten us.

But Jesus was right there.

And he is right here, right now.

There are things we are struggling with right now.

Thank you for turning our eyes to Jesus.

There's not a situation or circumstance where the resurrected Christ won't be there for us.

Thank you, Jesus, that you remain with us when we fail.

Thank you that you will never abandon nor forsake us.

We praise you, Jesus, for the resurrection.

Thank you that because of the resurrection we live every moment of every day in your mercy and grace.

Thank you for making us part of your forever family, and we will enjoy you forever.

Amen.


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