The Power of the Human Voice and Ear
John 20:16
Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned herself, and said to him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

The voice is an instrument more delicate than the finest organ or harp, and capable of expressing emotions more manifold and spiritual than these. The soul within is a player of marvellous subtlety that can so handle this Divine instrument as to translate into articulate sounds (of talk or music), and sometimes into a word, the thousand and one emotions of which the spirit is susceptible. Only one other phenomenon rivals these in strangeness, viz., the capacity which belongs to the intelligence that sits behind the ears of interpreting, with a speed surpassing thought and an accuracy excluding mistake, the thoughts and feelings that another has impressed upon these waves of sound. When Mary, wrapped in sorrow, heard the old voice speak, caught the undefinable "something" that made that voice stand out from all others as pre-eminently dear to her heart, she comprehended the situation without further remark. No voice but one could say "Mary" like that.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

She turned herself. — We know from ver. 14 that Mary had already turned once from the grave when Jesus appeared behind her. Here again she "turned herself." Not recognizing the person who spoke to her, and thinking He had been the gardener, she partially turned away, as a woman naturally would from a strange man, and hardly looked at Him, while she spoke of taking the body away. But the moment the voice of Jesus sounded in her ears, she turned again directly to Him, and made some movement towards Him. says, "It seems to me that after having said, 'Where hast thou laid Him?' she turned to the angels to ask why they were astonished; and that then Christ, by calling her by name, turned her back to Himself from them, and revealed Himself by His voice."

(Bp. Ryle.)

And saith unto Him, Rabboni. — This title existed in Jewish schools under a threefold form: Rab, master, the lowest degree of honour; Rabbi, my master, of higher dignity; Rabboni, my great master, the most honourable of all, publicly given to only seven persons, all of the school of Hillel, and of great eminence.

(C. S. Robinson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

WEB: Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him, "Rabboni!" which is to say, "Teacher!"

Sermon for Thursday in Easter Week
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