[Mary] turned toward him and cried out . . . “Rabboni!” John 20:16
After two brothers were separated by adoption, a DNA test helped to reunite them almost twenty years later. When Kieron texted Vincent, the man he believed was his brother, Vincent thought, Who is this stranger? When Kieron asked him what name he’d been given at birth, he immediately answered, “Tyler.” Then he knew they were brothers. He was recognized by his name!
Consider how a name plays a key role in the Easter story. As it unfolds, Mary Magdalene comes to Christ’s tomb, and she weeps when she finds His body missing. “Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asks (John 20:15). She didn’t recognize Him, however, until He spoke her name: “Mary” (v. 16).
Hearing Him say it, she “cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (Which means ‘Teacher’)” (v. 16). Her reaction expresses the joy believers in Jesus feel on Easter morning, recognizing that our risen Christ conquered death for all, knowing each of us as His children. As He told Mary, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (v. 17).
In Georgia, two reunited brothers bonded by name, vowed to take “this relationship to the next level.” On Easter, we praise Jesus for already taking the utmost step to rise in sacrificial love for those He knows as His own. For you and me, indeed, He’s alive!
How does it feel knowing that Jesus rose again and knows you by name? How can you know Him better?
Your knowledge of me is humbling, dear Jesus. Thank You for the sacrificial gift of Your knowing love.
When Jesus called Mary’s name (John 20:16), He spoke to her in Aramaic, which was the native tongue of Jesus and the people of His day. In speaking to Mary, He addressed her as Miriam. Commentator William Hendriksen notes: “When Mary hears this word—her own name in her own language—spoken in that familiar way as only one person could ever pronounce it, she quickly turns away from the tomb and toward the speaker.” The term by which Mary addressed Jesus is Rabboni, which John interpreted for those less familiar with the Aramaic term (see 19:13, 17 where other Aramaic terms are explained). The term, akin to rabbi, means “my master” or “my teacher” and was one of respect, so honorable that it was given to just a few Jewish rabbis.