Have you seen the 2006 film One Night with the King? It is about a young woman in an ancient middle-eastern culture who, together with hundreds of other beautiful virgins, is brought to the king’s harem. They are to beautify themselves and prepare to spend one night with the king. Out of all these women he will choose one as his queen. All the other girls will live out their days in the royal harem. Many of them will never see the king again.
In my last blog I wrote about grace: “Grace is one of the most wonderful things, if not THE most in my opinion. Throughout my years with God I have learned what it means and I am still learning, and still I do not fully comprehend. I probably never will during this lifetime. What I do know, is that His grace is enough for me.”
When I’m driving my car, I like to listen to all sorts of music. Lately I was driving to work when suddenly I was struck by one particular lyric from a Dutch rock band: You can’t compete with my demons. It made me think about what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12.
Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all the things going on in your life. Anxiety, depression, worries. People who seem to make it their life’s goal to make yours a struggle. And as if that is not enough, you feel like God is nowhere near. It even seems like He is the One putting you through this.
Meditation about John 20:16
Sometimes it really strikes me when someone calls my name. In daily life we usually just start talking: “Hey, how are you?’ “Hey, did you…?” This certainly occurs when there is no chance of confusion about who’s being adressed.
Dirt to your name?
Your name is a significant part of who you are, even if it is a common given name. When someone knows your name, you feel considered. When someone calls your name, you feel known. But sometimes you rather not have others know your name. You have done or experienced something that makes you feel ashamed. You don’t want to be associated with it. Your name should not be mentioned, because these associations will follow you your entire life.
The name of Mary Magdalene was also mentioned in light of a negative story (Luke 8:2). Seven demons had ruled over her. She would have never been freed of them. When Jesus encountered her, He knew everything. He knew her. Did He call her by her name then? He saw her. He knew what she suffered from. His word of power was enough to liberate her.
The power of hell is broken.
From that day on she had followed Him and provided for Him and His disciples out of her resources (Luke 8:3). She had come to know Him, she had seen His miracles. She also saw how He suffered. She saw Him dying and His body being burried. And now, while it is lying in the grave, she still wants to serve Him by embalming His body. But instead of the body she finds two angels! Overwhelmed by grief she does not comprehend what that means. She does not really see the Man standing behind her. But He sees and knows her: ‘Mary!’ Immediatly she realises Who He is. ‘Rabbouni!’ Just as He liberated her once from the demons’ power, He now calls her to come out of grief. The One Who has the power to drive out demons, has conquered death. The power of hell is broken.
He knows your name too, He knows my name. He sees how it is smeared with dirt. He knows the things no one else can ever know. He knows what your suffering from, perhaps even caused by your own sin. When He calls your name, what do you do? Do you walk away? Or do you respond? “But now, says the LORD – the One who created you, Jacob, the One who formed you, Israel: Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Also read I love you while you hate me