Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mary Magdalene, part II

This week, we are studying Mary Magdalene, and how she went from a demon-possessed woman to being a wonderful evangelist.

Let's start with the passage in Luke that describes her devotion to Jesus' ministry and gives us a peek into her past:
After this, 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)
Wow. Seven demons. When we read in the Bible of others who have been possessed, they have been horrific stories of people being tossed about, their bodies torn and convulsed, and more -- and she had been possessed by seven demons, not just one. What kind of an existence had she had? Tormented.

Jesus had cast out the demons, and in return, she was devoted to His ministry. She followed Him like a disciple, along with the other women who supported His ministry monetarily. Mary Magdalene and the others gave of their own means to support the One Who had healed them. We don't see a clue in the Bible to tell us if she was married, and her husband was wealthy, or if perhaps she had inherited a large sum of money. But somehow she was able to support herself, and to give to Jesus' ministry as well.
Her devotion to Him didn't stop there.
She followed Him from Galilee to the cross.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.......
So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. (Mark 15:38-41,46-47)

Even after the death of Jesus, her devotion to Him continued, as they accompanied Joseph of Arimethea to place His body in the borrowed tomb.
And she was one of the first to go to the tomb on the morning of the third day. And that is when she made an astonishing discovery!
The gospel of Mark says that she and the other women were wondering (perhaps talking about) how they would get past the soldiers guarding the tomb, in order to use their oils and spices for the ritual. How could they convince them to roll away the stone, and let them in?

Then they reached their destination. And to their shock, the huge stone was rolled back from the opening. In one gospel, it says that the other women left and went for help, thinking the body had been stolen. After the disciples came and saw things for themselves, they went back. Only Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb. Somehow she just couldn't leave. Her devotion to the Man Who cast seven demons out of her wouldn't let her leave.
He was gone. The soldiers were gone.
The disappointment and the sadness must have been overwhelming.

But praise God, the story doesn't end there!
Join us next time!

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

what an excellent study guide to that part of our Bibles.