The town of Magdala was on the west side of the lake of Galilee, it means “tower”, and in the 1970s archeological work revealed more of the ancient town. Mary’s name is always connected to this town, and not a family, which implies she was known as either a reputable public figure, possessed by demons possibly a fortune-teller, or she was a demonized homeless prostitute. Either way, the first lesson we learn is that God loves and is able to cleanse and forgive all kinds of sinners. After she was cleansed, her conversion was so complete that her devotion led her to be privileged in the event of the resurrection. “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils” (Mark 16:9). The Bible reveals that demons are very real. They are not a figment of creative imagination and we must stand guard against these minions of Satan. Thankfully, because of the resurrection the Bible tells us that demons are powerless as long as we are close to God. James 4:7 tells us: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. RESIST THE DEVIL, and he will flee from you.”
When Jesus was crucified, all of His male disciples except for one, deserted Him. However, this is not the case with Mary Magdalene and some other women. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee (Matthew 27:55-56). “Standing close to the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25). It takes courage to follow Christ. These women knew they were risking their lives in staying close to Jesus. When most men lost their courage, these women showed their devotion to Christ even if it meant putting their lives in danger.
When Mary Magdalene first saw the resurrected Christ she was in a state of depression having learnt his corpse had possibly been stolen, she craved his presence so much and missed him so deeply, that she felt sad & horrified that someone could treat him so bad! When she did first see him, she clung to Jesus. Her great desire to be with her Savior isn’t just a mental state of mind. Her actions showed what it really means to desire Christ’s presence. How much do we desire to be with God? However, Christ has a bigger plan for everyone including us, Christians today. When Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene, He gave her an immediate mission to fulfill. We read: Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Head-Teacher or Professor.”). “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her (John 20:16-18). Jesus gave Mary a mission to proclaim the incredible news of His resurrection to others. The resurrection of Jesus is the infallible proof of His divine nature and being The Christ. This is a clear lesson God teaches us that the church as a whole, even our leadership, must always be prepared to learn the truth from disciples who are outwardly and emotionally affectionate towards Jesus. This is spiritual maturity from God’s perspective. Every Christian should define spiritual maturity as hallmarked by affectionate devotion to Jesus, spiritual maturity is not based solely on how knowledgeable of Christ we are, but rather, how much we have grown in both His grace AND knowledge, 2nd Peter 3:18. The family & friends of Jesus should always respect our devoted sisters who are emotionally affectionate towards Christ and His cause! This is a strength we should all desire to grow in, see Romans 12:10 & 2nd Peter 1:7.
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