A Woman of Reckless Devotion – Part 2

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.

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A Woman With Reckless Devotion

Her name was Mary Magdalene.  She was the sister of Lazareth, the man who died and Jesus raised him from the grave.  It is an interesting account, to say the least.  You can learn more by reading my blog post named The Heart of a Woman.  There are very interesting things about this Mary.  Mary Magdalene had a past.  According to Mark 16:9 NIV, Jesus delivered her from seven demons.  I think that it is important to recognize Mary Magdalene, because she is one of the only women following Jesus that he had driven out demons.  There isn’t much more said about the other women who followed Jesus and the state of their condition at the time they met him.  There has been much speculation as to who she is and what her relationship with Jesus was like.  I want to shed a different light on Mary Magdalene. As I said before, Jesus drove out seven demons out of Mary Magdalene.  There is no account that I can find that records who these demons were.  While the number of demons that Mary Magdalene does not compare to the amount numbered in the demoniac of Gadara, it can be noted that any kind of demonic possession is accompanied by suffering.  I believe that Mary Magdalene should be recognized, because she obviously knew suffering, and then she knew deliverance.  Her healing came through deliverance.  Demonic possession is slavery.  To be delivered would mean that Satan would no longer have a hold on her.  She would be set freedom from bondage. I believe that it is safe to say that most people have never encountered a person who is demon possessed, and most don’t believe that such conditions exist, but they do.  I have experienced an encounter personally.  About 15 years ago, I encountered a woman in Mexico who began to scream insanities at our group who was prayer walking.  Her insanities were not Spanish or any other language.  It was confirmed that this woman was indeed demonically possessed.  I was a new Christian at the time, so all I knew to do was to pray.  She eventually quieted down and went back into her house. The reason I note the suffering of the demonic possession of Mary Magdalene is the very thing that she is commonly known for.  She is the woman who poured her expensive perfume on the head of Jesus.  Even his disciples rebuked her of reckless use of such a valuable substance.  This is the account:
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 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 26:6-13 NIV    
  Mary Magdalene had obviously come to realize the compassion of Jesus.  Her actions were a display of her devotion to him.  You could ask, “Why would Mary Magdalene do such a thing?”  Well, a person who has been forgiven much is devoted much.  A person who realizes how much they are forgiven never forgets where they came from.  It is important to remember how different our lives use to be before Jesus and how much better it is now.  I believe that it is very possible that the very day that Mary Magdalene poured her perfume on Jesus head and washed his feet with her tears, she was remembering the suffering she endured as a woman demonically possessed.  Could you imagine a woman possessed and how depressed she would be and highly likely to wish she were dead?  Could you imagine how many times she thought to herself, “I wished someone would look past everything they see and hear and just rescue me.”?  Could you imagine how often the people of her town talked horribly about her and maybe even refuse to bring her food as a result of her condition?  Could you imagine if you had been this demon possessed woman?  If you were her, how much would you cry out to anyone who came close?  I was not a Mary Magdalene, but I know what it is like to suffer.  When I met Jesus, he changed everything! Mary Magdalene should be recognized, because she is a picture of the church.  Her acts of devotion in this occurrence and some others to come are the kind of devotion that we as the church should have.  Our focus should be on the passion of Christ and how much we are forgiven.  It is what drives us to not only follow him but follow him with passion.  Forgiveness is an awesome act of compassion. When was the last time that you poured out your own perfume on the head of Jesus?  For Mary Magdalene, it was a reckless act of devotion.  What would that look like for you?  I challenge you to take the next week and ask God what that kind of devotion looks like for you.  How can you demonstrate devotion to God?  It could be that you haven’t read your Bible in a while, and your act of devotion would be to get up early each morning each day to read a chapter from the Bible.  It could be that God has been placing it on your heart to go on a mission trip to Africa or even China but you haven’t acted.  So, in your devotion to God, you begin to pray about whether this is truly God’s calling for you and begin to make yourself ready to act upon such a call.  If this is you, you will be at peace, and if this is what God is calling you to, you will find open doors as well. Something to recognize is that God doesn’t need our devotion, but he is surely appreciative of it.  Our devotion to him places us in the position to be able to receive the blessings that he has planned for us.  I can’t tell you how many times how my devotion to God through prayer and seeking him for answers helped me to make the right decisions.  Doing this is what brought my husband into my life.  It was a journey of seeking God for the right direction that led me to the right person.  So, what does your devotion look like?  This is for personal reflection and for comment, if you so choose. Go forth and be blessed, my friend.

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