Mary Magdalene

Lesson 2

by Jackie Alston

There are fourteen scriptures in the Bible that mention Mary Magdalene, and out of all those scriptures, none of them really tell us much about Mary. But since Mary was able to immediately follow Jesus, I guess it's safe to assume that she had no family ties and no job obligations. I guess it's also safe to assume she had a bit of money. She may have been on the well-to-do side. How did she look? Was she pretty? We don't know. But to the people of Magdala (which is where Mary was from), Mary was an ugly woman because she was a woman possessed by the devil. Back then, when a person was possessed, the devil would take over the soul and that person was prone to have what would be like an epilectic fit at any time. We don't know what Mary's devils were, but we do know that Jesus cast seven out of her. Jesus also cast devils out of Joanna and Suzanna, but how many devils were cast out of these women we are not told. But the author clearly states that seven devils were cast out of Mary Magdalene. Seven, as we know, is a very mystic number; a number of magic and awe. We have:

So seven is a very special number, the ultimate- whether good or bad. For the author to let us know that seven devils were cast out of Mary Magdalene, he was letting us know that out of all the people Jesus healed of devil possession, Mary had the most serious case. He was also letting us know that no matter how serious a problem we have; the ease at which Jesus can fix it.

In my story, we'll imagine Jesus and His disciples walking through the streets of Magdala when they come up on this crowd of people. These people are looking and pointing in disgust and distaste at something on the ground. And as Jesus comes closer, He immediately sees the same thing that these people are seeing. He sees Mary Magdalene possessed. But Jesus also sees something that these people couldn't possibly see because these people are looking at the outward appearance of Mary; and as we know, Jesus looks at the heart. He sees a good heart, no matter how ravaged the body is, he sees a good heart. And by His actions He says, "I'm on a mission to seek and save those that are lost; Mary, your Savior is here." Then He commands the devils, "Back! Back to your native hell, you foul spirits of the pit, and don't come back! And immediately, Mary Magdalene is tranquil, just as Jesus calms the stormy raging seas, He calmed Mary Magdalene.

The woman who only seconds before was on the ground ranting and raving, kicking and screaming, hair all disheveled, eyes rolled into the back of her head, arms and legs twitching, was now clothed and in her right mind. Her hair fell to her shoulders, her cheeks became rosy, her arms and legs stopped twitching and her eyes focused on the one who was responsible for it all. And I can imagine Mary getting to her knees saying, "Thank you, Lord! You have saved me. Lord, I'll be forever in your gratitude! Please Lord, use me in your service. I want to help you all I can." She said, "I know you're on a mission and I know it takes money for that mission. I've got money, I'll be one of your financial backers, just use me. I know your clothes get dirty walking these dusty roads, I'll be your laundry maid, just use me. I know you got to eat going from city to city, let me be your cook. I don't care what capacity it may be, just let me help you."

Mary Magdalene became one of the most devoted women disciples of all time. She told the Lord, "Lord, I love you, I'll never forsake you, you can always count on me." It's amazing that Jesus would pretty much hear these same words from two of His other disciples. His disciple Judas told Jesus, "Lord, I love you, you can always count on me." That is until he was offered thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus. Judas was a thief at heart who loved money. But he never fooled Jesus. At the Last Supper, Jesus told Judas in so many words, "I know what you're up to, you can't fool me. Go and do what you got to do." And you know the rest of the story. His disciple Peter said, "Lord, I love you. I'll never forsake you; I'll fight for you. I'll die for you." In so many words Jesus told Peter, "Peter, hush! Before the cock crows you'll deny me three times." And when it came to pass, all Peter could do was run away and cry.

Oh, but Mary Magdalene said what she meant and she meant what she said; "I'll never forsake you, Lord." All through the mock trial of Jesus, Mary was right there. When Pontius Pilate handed down the sentence of death by crucifixion, Mary heard it, she was right there. On the long walk to Calvary, watching Jesus fall beneath the heavy load of His cross, Mary was right there. When the soldiers nailed Jesus' hands and feet to the cross, Mary was still there. When Jesus uttered His last seven sayings from the cross, Mary heard them; she was there at the foot of the cross weeping. When Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus' body down from the cross, Mary was still there. One of the last persons to leave the crucifixion site and one of the first persons to arrive that first Easter Sunday. The scriptures tell us "Early in the morning came Mary Magdalene" and when she got to the empty tomb she wept. Then she asked a question; not "where is the Lord?, but "where is my Lord?" That's the way she felt about Jesus.

Mary was grateful and she didn't mind showing her gratitude. It's human nature to want gratitude. Jesus wanted gratitude. When He healed those ten lepers and only one came back to say thank you, Jesus asked him, "were there not ten?" Jesus knew exactly how many there were. The question wasn't about how many but about why aren't they thanking me? I deserve gratitude! When Mary showed her gratitude, God proved he wasn't done with her. He had a special honor for Mary. Mary Magdalene became the first person to see the resurrected Christ. My! My! What an honor! And not only that; when Jesus saw Mary, He said, "Mary, take a message for me." A person really has to know what they are doing when choosing someone to take a message. Jesus chose Mary. "Go and tell my brethren that I will ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God." Can you imagine the speed in which Mary must have run? First of all knowing that her Savior was alive and then taking a message for him. She probably wore out her leather sandals. She was the herald of great news!

Are we any different from Mary today? Don't we all have something to be grateful for? I know I do. I know health is a very tricky thing, but as for as I know, I'm in good health. I have a decent job and two decent sons, great friends and family, and a good church family. So I have plenty to be grateful for. But all these things, I played a part in. I had to take a test to get that decent job. My boys are decent because they were taught at an early age to show respect. My family and friends, well, I've always treated people the way I wanted to be treated. So yes, I played a part in all these things.

But years and years ago, something happened that I played no part in. It was predestined. If it was strictly up to me, it never would have happened because I know I'm not worthy. Years ago, God loved this world so much that He sent His only Son to this earth that whosoever believeth in Him shall have a right to an everlasting life. Jesus was sent here to be our scapegoat. All our sins and devils were placed on His shoulders and He paid the price. So Yes! Yes! I have plenty to be grateful for. All those other things I mentioned earlier can pass away. I can go to work tomorrow and have a pink slip waiting on me, my boys can grow up and join gangs and become disrespectful to me and others. My family and friends can turn their backs on me. But God's undying love will never change, and if you can't be grateful for a love like that, then there's something seriously wrong with you.

Remember, there are two things we can't possibly know. The first, is the day that we will die, and when that happens, it's too late. The second, is the day when Jesus will return. When Jesus returns, there will be people yelling, "Jesus, save me! And I can imagine Jesus saying, "Wait a minute, there must be some mistake. Weren't you listening to your pastor?, didn't you read it in your Bibles? The first time I was here it was to seek and save. Now I'm here to judge. And I've got some bad news for some of you. You! You still have that devil of hate in you. You! You're still full of jealousy. Backbiting, lying, stealing, gossiping, coveting, greed, gluttony, adultery, envy, and fornication, it's all here. What's wrong with you all? Didn't you realize that I could've turned this man's hate into love?, he wouldn't hate anyone anymore, he'd love everybody. Didn't you realize I could've turned this woman's jealousy into inspiration?, she wouldn't be jealous of anyone, she'd be inspired. But now its too late! All you can do now is line up and come get your first-class tickets to hell. Let Satan tell you "well done" and see how long it takes you to realize he's not talking about your services. (It's extremely hot down there!)

But for those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and have shown gratitude to Him, not only in words, but by a life of devotion to Him and the Father; Jesus is not through with us. He has prepared a place for us called Heaven, where there is no more crying, no more dying, no more tears, no more fears. There's not even night in Heaven and every day is Sunday.

In closing, are you like Mary Magdalene or the nine lepers? You really don't owe me an answer but let your answer be to God by your actions because only God deserves the gratitude and the glory.

Providence Family Ministries

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