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He Knows Their Name

Our youth are struggling for identity, let’s remind them of the One who knows them and calls them by name.

By Dishon Mills, Pastor Charlotte, NC

On the last day of this month, we will celebrate Easter, a day when we rejoice over Christ’s completed work of salvation. The empty tomb was and is an open door to a new humanity in Jesus. It is at this time of year that we often retell the story of Christ’s resurrection, and we also give our attention to those who bore witness to the moment of our redemption. One story that always touches me is Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Lord (John 20:1-18). When Mary sees the empty tomb, she is distraught, thinking that someone stole away Jesus’ body. She speaks to Jesus, thinking he was the gardener. She does not recognize him and boldly asks to be shown to the Lord’s remains. Then, something amazing happens:

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). (John 20:16 NIV)

We do not know why Mary did not recognize Jesus. On other occasions, Jesus supernaturally obscured his identity somehow, so that could be a possibility. Or perhaps Mary’s vision was distorted because of her tears. We do not know for sure. What we do know is that Jesus said Mary’s name and she instantly knew him. She also remembered herself. She called Jesus “teacher,” which implied that she was his disciple. By saying her name, Jesus said something about who he was and who Mary was at the same time.

It is during the adolescent and teenage years that young people begin to ask questions like, “Who am I? Who do I want to be?” It is during this period of time that they begin to develop and assert their identity. It can be a time of experimentation and confusion as they try to figure out the kind of person they want to be. When it comes to the discipleship of children and youth, it is really important that we teach our young people that God knows who they are. He has perfect knowledge of their identity. Not only that, he is ready and willing to tell them. He knows their name and he desires to let them know.

As we do our part to support young people through this sometimes difficult time, let us teach them to turn to God in prayer and ask, “Who am I, Lord? Who did you make me to be?” We can teach our youth that God deliberately and joyfully made them. He has a purpose for them and is even now preparing a place that is perfect for them. No matter how confusing life gets, God knows them. He is willing to say their name and reveal himself to them. He is willing to say their name and reveal them to themselves. Our identities flow from him and it is only in Christ that we can find our true selves.

I am so thankful that God knows my name. I pray that your young people can make the same confession. Have a blessed Easter!

2 thoughts on “He Knows Their Name”

  1. This article, “He Knows Their Name” cries out to be shared, read aloud, and shared again and again and again as widely as possible, in home groups, church groups, formal services and wherever there are human ears, both young and old, ready to listen. This article I found to be inspiring. Thank you Dishon for sharing with us. Roger and out.

  2. Thank you, Dishon. Nancy and I encourage the youths to pray as you suggest. Caden is busy like the other youths, but he said he will do this and let me know what he finds out. This is exciting. Ken and Nancy

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