Happy Easter! My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here.
You know one of the most powerful memory triggers is sound…especially music.
Not that long ago, I heard a song that emotionally transported back to 2003
At that time, I had been dating my (now wife) for years, and I had nervously driven to her parents’ house to ask her father if I could marry her.
And I wasn’t completely sure what they would say.
We had been dating for a long time, but we were still young.
And after they thankfully said yes, I got in my car, and that was about as happy as I had ever felt in my life up to that point.
And I remember while I was driving home, this upbeat song, “Free” by Ginny Owens came on…
And I’m telling you, I was just driving around the streets of Cambridge, MN, with the biggest smile on my face, windows rolled down, music blasting, and I’m waving at strangers…
Well a couple of weeks ago, I randomly heard that song…
And it took me back…like I was right there with the windows down again.
And perhaps you feel the same way when you hear that favorite jam from your high school prom, or your wedding song, or you name it.
Sounds connect to our memory, and to our heart, in a way that almost nothing else does.
AN EMOTIONAL FOG
I want you to think about that as we get into our Bible passage today.
We are going to be looking at the Easter account in the Bible (no surprise 😊)
But before we get there, let me give you a tiny bit of context.
Before the first Easter, Jesus, the Son of God, had spent 3 years teaching, loving, healing, and doing the miraculous.
But after 3 years of ministry, he was executed on a cross.
He was killed on Friday of the original Easter Weekend.
And then on Sunday morning of that same weekend, some of his loyal women followers went to his tomb to better prepare Jesus’ body for burial, but when they got there, the tomb was empty.
And we’re going to join the story right there with one of the women at the tomb named Mary Magdalene.
So I’d love for everybody to grab a Bible so you can see this
The Bibles are under the chair in front of you (or if you’re in the front row, they are under your chair)
We don’t put the Bible verses on the screen because we want everyone to hold it themselves, so you can see it, and study it with your own eyes.
You are at, what is called a “Bible-teaching church,” where we teach right through passages of the Bible so people can understand it.
You’re going to want to find the big number 20, and a little number 11.
Okay, let’s read it
(John 20:11-18) – NIV
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
(When Jesus Says Your Name)
Okay, first of all, who was this Mary Magdalene?
She was one of Jesus’ closest followers.
The Bible shockingly says earlier that she had been possessed by 7 demons, and that Jesus delivered her and set her free.
And he forgave her of her sins, and she followed him everywhere.
She was at the cross, and she was the first person he appeared to.
But here at the tomb, she’s not recognizing Jesus even though she followed him for years.
Why is this not clicking for her?
I think this is important to talk through and learn from because many people today miss seeing Jesus…even though He’s right there.
So let me actually give you some reasons today for why that is:
Here’s the first one:
HOW SOME MISS SEEING JESUS
#1: Emotional Fog
Some people miss Jesus because of an emotional fog.
Verse 11 says that Mary is so distraught about Jesus’ death, and now his missing body, that she is weeping.
When you’re weeping like this, nothing makes sense.
In maybe my first or second year of being pastor, I once went to the house of a family very shortly after their daughter had taken her life
And when I got there, there were people all over the house, just on the floor. Weeping. Wailing.
I’m pretty sure they didn’t even know I was there.
When your emotions are intense, not a lot tends to make sense.
In fact, one thing that jumped out to me in the passage was how Mary reacted to the two angels in the tomb.
In the Bible, almost every single time when angels appear, people absolutely freak out in fear. Which makes sense!
And yet, Mary sees the angels, and she’s like, “Hey, yeah, nice to meet you….who took the body?!”
Mary is in such an emotional fog that she doesn’t even react to seeing ANGELS!
And then, it gets even crazier…because JESUS himself appears right behind her!
God has raised him from the dead!
And then, I love verse 15!
It says, “Thinking he was the gardener…”
Remember, she’s in terrible grief.
She saw her friend, this man who changed her life, executed.
She’s weeping (verse 11 said), tears are streaming down her face.
And so she just says, “Mr. Gardener, if you took him, just tell me where he is, I’ll move his body back”
How’s she going to do that? By herself?
What’s going on here?
Mary is grieving.
And she’s confused.
She’s mad because she thinks someone stole his body.
She’s just got her head down, laser focused on trying to just get done what she needs to get done.
And I think a lot of people in life are like that…kind of stuck in the emotional fog like Mary.
Maybe you’ve found yourself here.
Maybe, honestly, life has been really hard for you.
And you’ve lost people.
Maybe you’ve lost an important friendship, or relationship, or marriage
And maybe in the pain of whatever you’ve had to go through, you’ve kind of been a bit like Mary…
Where you’ve just had to put your head down, and through the tears, just try and get through the next thing.
And your life, as it pertains to spiritual things, has kind of been like, “Yeah, yeah, hello angels, hello, Mr. Gardener, I’m just trying to get through
Mary has angels right in front of her, Jesus Christ Himself right behind her, and yet all she sees is her pain.
That’s an Emotional FOG.
The one she’s searching for is right there, and yet she feels abandoned.
In the fog of her emotions, she doesn’t see that God is working…that He is with her.
And I want you to know today that if your life has been hard
That God is working in your life…right now.
And that He is here…today…right now.
Just pause for a moment…think about that.
God is here.
And I say to you…look up from your fog…look up from your pain.
Jesus is alive…and He is here…and He loves you.
But there’s another reason that Mary doesn’t realize this is Jesus standing by her…
I’m going to call this an intellectual misunderstanding.
HOW SOME MISS SEEING JESUS
#1: Emotional Fog
#2: Intellectual Misunderstanding
It’s not clicking for Mary that the man standing behind her is Jesus because well, rationally, logically, she’s thinking, “How could it be?!”
I mean, in her defense, she just watched him be executed on a cross.
And so even if the man she thought was the gardener looked just like Jesus, her brain is not expecting to see Jesus there.
It’s like, do you ever see someone you know from work or your neighborhood at a really random place?
Like you see them at the store, or the airport, or a sporting event.
And your brain can’t really figure out their name at first, even though you totally know them!
Your brain is having an intellectual misunderstanding because it doesn’t think they’re supposed to be at that spot!
Mary wasn’t expecting Jesus to be here, and yet He was.
And maybe you weren’t expecting the risen Jesus to be here…and yet He is.
He’s alive. And He wants you to see Him…to follow Him.
And notice the question Jesus asks her:
Look at verse 15.
Jesus says, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Not “what is it?”
WHO is it?
Jesus is essentially saying, “Mary, you aren’t really understanding who I truly am.”
“I’m not just a teacher or a healer, I’m the Son of God…who rose from the dead…just like I said I would!”
He’s saying, “If you’re just looking for a dead body of a nice teacher, you have an intellectual misunderstanding of who I really am.
“You’re not looking for the real me.
And maybe that’s where you are
Maybe you thought this would just be a message about a dead man named Jesus who used to be a teacher.
If you’re looking for that Jesus, won’t find Him.
He doesn’t exist.
The real Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead.
WE HAVEN’T HEARD HIS VOICE
(Title Screen: When Jesus Says Your Name)
So how does Mary figure out that it’s actually Jesus?
What brings her back to truth, to reality?
This is verse 16.
“Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
And then she instantly recognizes that it’s Him.
But what did it? What woke her up to truth?
Jesus said her name. He said her name.
Actually, if you read in the original language this was written in (Greek), throughout the passage in John 20, leading up to this moment, every time the author John mentions Mary, he refers to her as “MA-ria” in Greek.
But when Jesus says her name, John wants you see that Jesus spoke to her differently…personally.
When Jesus says her name, he says her full name, her Hebrew and Aramaic name, “Mariam.”
And see, right up to this point her eyes had failed her, but her EARS could not mistake that voice saying her name.
And that sound, the memory of it, takes her back…
Like a song taking you back to a core memory.
And I’m sure that the sound of his voice, saying her name, took her back to when Jesus found her in her mess and would have said:
“Mariam, you’re free.”
“Mariam, you’re forgiven”
And it’s not just the sound of his voice, it’s that he says her name…her full name.
Because your name, especially your full name…that’s the access point to your core, your history.
It would be like, if your life got messy, and you felt alone, and confused.
And so you decide to go home, and see your father, and let’s say you had an amazing, good father.
And let’s say even though all your friends call you by a nickname…they call you Jen (or Ben), when you come home to your father, with tears in your eyes, and you say, “Dad…I messed up.”
When he looks at you, with love in his eyes, and he doesn’t say, Jen…
He says, “Jennifer (Benjamin), come here, I love you
And you know in that moment, when your father says your name like that…
You know that he’s known you from your first second…when that name was given to you…and that he loves you, unconditionally, no matter what.
That’s what’s happening here by the tomb.
And it all happens when Jesus says her name.
And this man speaking, Jesus, isn’t just a man, He’s the Son of God.
And He has known you from your first second.
And He loves you.
And He’s seen not just your first second, but all of your seconds.
Even the worst ones.
The ones where you’ve done wrong, you’ve messed up, you’ve sinned.
But the Bible says the reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross.
And in dying on the cross, what He was doing was taking the punishment for your sins (that’s incredible!)
And the Bible says:
(John 1:12) – NIV
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
What that means is that if you see Jesus for who He truly is…
Not a dead teacher.
But as the Risen Son of God, and your Savior, your leader.
If you believe in Him, He will forgive you, and you can be welcomed into His family.
And when you place your faith in Jesus, God takes the punishment for your sins off of you, and onto Jesus, and you are clean in God’s eyes.
And that allows you to be welcomed into His family, and into heaven (and not hell), which is where we go…forever…without Jesus.
Because God is just, so someone has to pay for our sins.
I pray you let it be Jesus.
(When Jesus Says Your Name)
And I pray that in your heart, you hear Jesus saying your name today
I pray that your heart is beating heavy in your chest right now because He is calling you
He is saying, “Michael, Samantha, Sarah, Christopher, I came and I died for you, but I’m alive. I’m alive!”
“I’m calling you” j
“I’m saying your name”
“let me forgive you…come and walk with me”
“This world will not satisfy you. You were created for me!
And listen, to be forgiven by Him, to receive Him in, you don’t have to get your life together first.
A lot of people think, “I need to clean life my up, then I’ll let God in”
The Bible says, “Nope, you just let God in, and then He cleans your life up”
This is the story of Mary Magdalene.
She was into all sorts of messy stuff.
Her life was a complete wreck.
But she saw Jesus and she believed.
And he CHANGED HER LIFE.
Let him save you and change yours.
Receive Him as your Savior and Leader.
In fact, let’s do this.
Let’s just have everyone, just for a minute, close your eyes and bow your head.
I want to give you an opportunity to do just that…to receive Jesus in as your Savior and Leader.
If you are hearing Him, in your heart, saying your name…saying come, turn your life over to me…be forgiven…walk with me…
If you’re ready to make Him your Savior, and your Leader
Because this isn’t just a decision to believe and go on with your life as before.
This is a decision to grab his hand, and walk out of your old life…and into a new life where He lovingly leads you.
If you need to make this decision for the first time today…to tell Jesus that you need His forgiveness for your sins…to make Him the leader of your life…to accept His gift of Eternal life…
In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to stand up
No one’s going to be looking at you, that’s why we had everyone close their eyes.
But sometimes in life, we just need that moment…that line in the sand moment.
To say, “God I receive you!”
And if you need to do that today, and I bet you already know it on your heart and you can feel it inside right now…
If you need to tell God for the first time today that you do believe, and you want to follow Him and be forgiven.
Then I invite you to stand where you are right now (and keep standing).
The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, in just a second, I’m going to pray, but I want you to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.
You won’t walk out there alone.
There are many others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you
And then I, and our follow-up team, for just a couple of minutes, are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life (and then you can come back in the service).
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, I’m going to pray, and you can go as I pray.
Go ahead. Let’s pray
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.