What was your story before you came to know Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior? We all have a story. Even if you were a pretty good person before you submitted your life to the authority of Christ, you still should be experiencing a profound difference between the living in the ways of the world or living through the power of Christ within. When you think about the decisions you make and the actions you take in your day-to-day life, do they reflect a secular worldview or a biblical worldview? What does the eye of your soul reveal about your heart? We, who are professing faithful followers of Jesus Christ, do our lives reveal His heart to others? Let us dig into the Scripture and see the profound impact Jesus had on the life of Mary Magdalene.
“Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means” (Luke 8:1-3 NIV).
Jesus healed Mary Magdalene. She went from a stage of chaos and confusion from being possessed with seven demons into oneness with God. “The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17 NIV). The demons that once ruled her life had been cast out, and now she was free to be all that God intended for her to be. She chooses to follow Jesus and support His ministry. We often sing and profess that Jesus is our everything. Is He? Would we do what Mary Magdalene did? Do you truly leave the world behind and follow Jesus wholeheartedly? Does he make a difference when no one is watching? Would we have followed Him to the cross? It is recorded that only five faithfully followed Him to the cross.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:25-27 NIV).
That is a sobering thought, for we know that even of His blessed inter circle of disciples, only one was found at the foot of His cross. Where was Peter? Where was James? Where was Thomas? Where was Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thaddaeus, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, the Zealot? Where would we have been when “darkness came over all the land [and]…Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt 27:45-46 NIV)? Would we had been at the foot of the cross and heard Jesus say “‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30 NIV). How close would we have been “when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’ Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (Matt 27:50-56 NIV)? In the world in which we live, do we have the courage to stand strong in Jesus Christ no matter the cost? “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matt 16:24-26 NIV). He also said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt 7:13-14 NIV). Where are we in our faith journey? Let us learn for Mary Magdalene, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb” (Matt 27:57-61 NIV). She followed Jesus in life and stayed as He attained victory over death. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ’Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:54-55 NIV).
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.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.’At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.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.’Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’). 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.’ 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” (John 20:1-18 NIV). Praise be to God!!! What blessed joy there is in knowing Jesus Christ our LORD!! Mary honored Jesus from the time He healed and freed her by casting out the seven demons that had her in bondage. She followed Him to Jerusalem from Galilee. She supported Him in His kingdom work. She watched as others mocked Him as He bled and died on the cross. She sat across from the tomb as they laid Him in the tomb and rolled the stone to seal the entrance. She wept in heart-wrenching grief as she gazed upon the empty tomb. But then she heard the sweet sound of her name being called by the One she loved so dear. The Teacher has risen!!! Rabboni! Rabboni! May we all search our hearts as we ponder Mary Magdalene’s faith journey and ask ourselves: Do we love Jesus like that? To God be the glory! Amen.