Name Calling and Grave Leavers


Sometimes, I get this feeling that the Lord uses rain showers on Sunday morning to remind me of His sovereignty, to remind me that He has this amazing track record of doing His best work through inconveniences and adversities.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
 “For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
 so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do” – Isaiah 55:8-11 

***

I wrote those thoughts on Sunday morning before heading out for yet another rainy day of worship.  The next morning, I found myself in John10.  It’s in this chapter that Jesus declares to be both the door to walk through and the shepherd to follow. His sheep will walk through this door and follow this shepherd because they will recognize the sound of their shepherd’s voice when He calls their name. It reminded me of the last portion of the verses I shared above.

so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do” (emphasis mine)

I love the reminders and assurances in these verses.  The words that He speaks have a purpose and that purpose will always prevail, always accomplish and thrive.

“For the word of the Lord is right,
and all his work is trustworthy.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.

 The heavens were made by the word of the Lord,
and all the stars, by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the water of the sea into a heap;
he puts the depths into storehouses.
 Let the whole earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke, and it came into being;
he commanded, and it came into existence.” Psalm 33:4-9

As I sat here thinking about the power and purposefulness of His words, two more memories came to mind.  First, a post I wrote last year about Jesus calling out Mary Magdelene’s name the morning of the resurrection. It may not have been raining that day, but Mary’s heart was certainly swarming in a sea of cloudy despair. And, then, Jesus calls her by name.  Mary!

Here’s an excerpt:

Then Jesus responds “Mary!”

I’m trying to understand why this one word response from Jesus means so much to me. That single word response is overflowing with heart gushing love and anticipation.

In the middle of her pain, Jesus calls Mary out by name.  He doesn’t respond by saying “It’s me, don’t you recognize me?”

No, Jesus cuts right to the chase. He calls His child out by name and, instantly, Mary’s heart hears the truth and responds.

This scene actually reminds me of how Jesus tells us He is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. The shepherd calls his sheep by name and the sheep recognize His voice.

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3

He calls his own sheep by name…

Mary!

Can you hear it too?  There is so much love packed into this one word! I can almost see Mary standing there, full of despair, and then hearing her Savior’s voice calling her out by name.  And, if this were a scene in a movie, we would see a flashback scene of Mary’s journey with the Lord. We would see the moment she encountered Jesus for the first time, the moment her life went from captivity and torment to freedom and joy.  The moment this once demon-possessed lady knew, with complete certainty, who was King over her life and Lover of her soul.

The second thought that crossed my mind was these song lyrics.

“He called my name, and I ran out of that grave.” 

It’s interesting to think about how, on the day of resurrection, Jesus walked out of that grave and the first thing He did was call Mary out of her grave too.  The storm of uncertainty was over and she stood there, heart fully alive, basking in the sun.

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