M A R Y M A G D A L E N E
Read: Matthew 27:55-56, 61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1-19; Luke 8:2; 24:10;John 19:25; 20:1-18
All scripture, unless otherwise noted, is NIV.
The darkness. The heaviness. It threatened to smother her. Again.
Mary Magdalene is a profound figure in history. Mary, from Magdala, likely knew a life of affluence and influence, yet she gave it all up to follow Jesus. She and a band of other women traveled extensively with Jesus and the disciples. The women likely took care of the Master’s needs on a practical basis as far as preparing and serving meals and doing laundry—mundane tasks to many, yet they were done with an abundance of love and devotion. These tasks were only some of many ways she and the others showed support and love. Her financial support, along with that of many other women, was likely an enormous blessing to Jesus and His disciples, yet it was the time spent and the relationship that grew that were surely the most prized. Jesus met Mary at the lowest point in her life. He found her broken and defenseless. Her world was dark and lonely. Jesus brought Light and Life into her world when He healed her of seven demons.
Seven, the number representing “perfection” or “completion” in the Bible, may detail how dire was Mary’s situation of demon-possession. Whatever her affliction, it was a serious situation that likely robbed her of all control and joy in life. Although the details of her healing aren’t noted in scripture, we can make an educated guess as to the effect that Jesus’ mercy had on Mary. We aren’t sure how long Mary suffered from this torment, but we can understand that she saw life through dark shadows of loneliness. There would be no laughter, no smiling, no rest.
She went from being hopeless, afflicted and possibly alone, to fully restored and healed in an instant. Surely one look into Jesus’ eyes as He lovingly looked past her outward actions and appearance to her very soul was enough to tether her heart to the Master’s forever. Add to that the time spent watching the Lord patiently teach, consistently heal, and laugh with genuine joy and we can understand how her affections for Him grew.
Her status, her wealth, her family, and her standing within the community couldn’t save her in her time of need. She was hopeless and defeated. It was Jesus and Jesus alone who rescued her from the literal hell she lived in day in and day out. And it was Jesus who continued to teach and heal her as she followed Him from town to town.
Her name is mentioned several times in the New Testament, usually along with other women who followed Jesus. Many women, as already noted, whom He’d healed, followed Him and offered support. One woman—influential of her own accord— was the wife of a government official (Luke 8:2-3), yet it was Mary Magdalene whose name was listed first among women and only second after Jesus’ mother and aunt. It was she who had stayed when all others had fled, while Christ was put on trial and beaten. It was Mary Magdalene who had remained to offer any comfort possible, while Christ struggled to carry His cross to Golgotha. It was Mary Magdalene who had knelt, with tears streaming down her cheeks, to minister to Jesus’ mother and the Lord Himself, as He was brutally nailed to the cross and anguished for hours. It was Mary Magdalene who stayed behind after the others had gone home when the tomb was found empty. She knew loneliness. She knew inner torment and suffering that no one could save her from. It was this woman to whom Christ had restored the hope of life and life abundantly, who would linger longer than most, to be with the Master as the last of His life drained away. And it was Mary Magdalene who had the privilege of seeing the Master, restored and resurrected, and heard for the first time that He had indeed overcome the world.
Jesus’ relationship with Mary Magdalene revealed His respect and purpose for women. In a culture and time when women were considered property and not worthy of being taught the serious teachings of religion, Jesus surrounded Himself with them. He spoke with, and taught them, along with the men who followed Him.
To allow a woman the immense privilege of seeing the newly resurrected Messiah, and to be the first EVER to hear from Him that He was alive, in addition to being tasked with telling the other disciples the Good News, displays Christ’s tenderness toward women. Beyond that, it displays Christ’s purpose for and value of women. He respected women and showed that respect in the responsibilities He gave them. He entrusted an enormous duty to Mary and He trusted her with it. With that task, He showed her that not only was she healed and restored, but she was important. She was needed. His character as a loving Father, devoted Teacher, and the Savior of the world is absolutely apparent in how He chose to treat Mary and the other women.
Jesus found her broken. He healed her. Their friendship and relationship grew through her devotion to Him. She followed Him with abandon, forsaking all else, even when she was alone. As a result, she got to know Him in a way that most didn’t. She gained His trust and a calling on her life. She heard and accepted her calling and embraced it. She literally ran to fulfill it. Her devotion and obedience led her to a place of great importance in Christ’s ministry. She gave of herself: her time, her emotions, her finances, and was rewarded by being regarded as worthy by the Savior.
“A further lesson is that of what a woman can do for the One who has done so much for her. Once Mary was healed and saved, she practiced her faith in following Jesus and ministering to Him and His disciples of her substance and witnessing to His death and Resurrection, to others. Are there not a thousand ways in which converted and consecrated women can serve the Master acceptably? Mary’s gratitude and love manifested itself in devotion to Christ. She owed much, gave much, loved much and served much. Has He expelled Satan from our lives? If so, are we loving and serving Him to the limit of our capacity, daily witnessing to the power of His Resurrection?” 
Written by Mandy.
S o u r c e s
 Biblegateway.com, 1988, Mary Magdalene: The Woman who had Seven Devils, Zondervan.
The Quest Study Bible, NIV, 1983, Zondervan
D I G G I N G D E E P E R
So often our relationship with Jesus can be rushed or come in second place to the chaos that is around us. We long for Jesus revelations in our lives, yet we lack a commitment to pursuing Him. Mary knew how to gain wisdom and insight, she knew how to be a part of the inner circle, even if she didn't realize it. Are you being like Mary?
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