Every day, I am reminded by the reality that I would not be here in this place and on this earth had I not had an encounter with Jesus. He is so important to me, because he met me when I was in a very dark place in my life. It is one of the many stories I share in my book When The One You Love Doesn’t Love You Anymore. It is my prayer that I live a life worthy of the price Jesus paid for me. While I do my best to remember my past so that I can always be thankful for what God has done in my life, it is even more important to remember Jesus in this season—the season leading up to Resurrection Day.
Today, I want to fast forward to the day of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus had endured a crucifixion, but three days later he arose from the grave. The tomb was now empty as discovered by Mary Magdalene (John 20:1NIV), the “other Mary” (Matthew 28:1 NIV) — presumed as being the mother of James and Joseph (Mark 15:40 NIV), and Salome (Mark 16:2 NIV). While I believe that it is so important to recognize Jesus and the whole meaning of celebrating Resurrection Day, I also believe that it is important to ponder the events and who was there. Just as I have been writing about Mary Magdalene in earlier posts —The Heart of a Woman, and Reckless Devotion — I believe that there is more to ponder about her.
The women I mentioned above were the first to find the empty tomb. Being shocked by what they observed, they ran to tell the disciples that the tomb of Jesus was empty. Then Peter and another disciple, with the two women following, ran to the tomb only to discover that what they were saying was true. Not sure what to think about what happened, they all left the tomb — everyone but Mary Magdalene. When we read John 20:11-18 NIV, we discover what happens next:
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.
I find it very interesting that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. There have been speculations, but I believe that Jesus’ motive was entirely different. If you refer to the last two posts, The Heart of a Woman, and Reckless Devotion, you will read about how Lazarus and Mary Magdalene were good friends with Jesus; it is revealed through Jesus’ response in that narrative. Also, it was Mary Magdalene that poured expensive perfume —meant for her wedding day —on Jesus’ head. Here is the account:
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
—Matthew 26:10-13 NIV
And here I am, telling her story! I believe that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene as a result of the enduring devotion she had shown him when she poured her perfume on him. She was scorned for what she did by the disciples who were indignant, or to put it into modern terms, they were outraged. (Mk 14:4 NIV) Even though Jesus rebuked the disciples for what they said, they still did not understand the resurrection that would come, but somehow, in some way, Mary Magdalene caught a glimpse of it even before it happened. Now, if I needed to convey a message, I would first tell this message to the person who believed in me the most. It is my synopsis that Mary Magdalene had her heart in the right place and was passionate about Jesus, who he was, and what was to become of him. It was as if Mary Magdalene had received a revelation that helped her to understand the passion of Jesus Christ. I truly believe that she knew God, and people who know God understand him and his ways, maybe not completely, but enough to display such extravagance toward him as she did. That perfume was worth a year’s wage! (Mk 14:5 NIV)
So, in this week leading up to Resurrection Day, let us remember who Jesus is: the Son of God filled with compassion who laid down his life for mankind. Let us also remember how Jesus might have felt about the heart of a woman that led her into reckless devotion. Let us remember the love demonstrated through the passion of Christ.
Go forth and be blessed, my friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who bore the sins of many.
Note: If you haven’t yet, go back to read the rest of the Easter series and share the posts with friends. Jesus is so special, and he truly came to die for the sins of the entire world.
Go forth and be blessed, my friend.