I’ve often pondered… What was Mary’s life like before she met Jesus? While Mary Magdalene is a prominent figure in the Gospel narratives as a devoted follower of Jesus, we do not receive much insight into her life before knowing Him.
Luke writes, “Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were (was) Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons…” Luke 8:1-2 NLT
We don’t know how long Mary had been tormented by seven demons, nor do we know how she came to be possessed by them, but we can surmise the experience was terrifying, painful and hopeless. It isn’t too difficult to imagine the relationship damage those spirits caused with others. These demonic spirits surely sought to cause discouragement and futility in her life. Ultimately, they would seek to cause a spiritual alienation from anything good… including God. Her life was assuredly broken, fearful and without hope.
But then, she had an encounter with the Incarnate God… Jesus… and as powerful as those demons might have seemed to her; they were no match for the High King of Heaven! I imagine Jesus commanding, “Come out of her!”, and those demons shrieking straight into Hell. Suddenly, for the first time in probably years… Mary was free.
Have you ever been really ill… so ill that it effected every area of your life to the point where you just couldn’t function normally? Do you remember how it felt when you recovered and your strength was returned? What a tremendous feeling that is! The return to normalcy is a blessed gift! Now imagine that feeling compounded many times, and we might have an understanding of how Mary felt when Jesus delivered her. She was healed…. She was restored. She was whole. And… she became devoted to The One who freed her.
So, it’s easy to understand her reaction at Jesus’ death. John writes, “Mary stood weeping outside the tomb…” John 20:11 ESV What a remarkable scene! Peter wasn’t at the tomb weeping… John wasn’t at the tomb weeping… where were Nathanael, James, Andrew, Thomas and Matthew? But Mary was there. Mary was at the tomb because she was mourning the person who had changed everything in her life. The one who had cast out evil, and replaced it with His Presence.
Then, a Voice behind her asks, “Why are you weeping?” Not recognizing the Glorified Risen Jesus, she replies, “Sir, if you have taken his body somewhere, tell me where you have laid it.” (John 20) And then? Well, a moment I am sure Mary will never forget, because Jesus cried out, “Mary!” And while Mary failed to recognize the sight of Jesus through her swollen, tear filled eyes… she didn’t miss the sound of his voice when he called her by name. And crying out, “Rabboni!”… she fell at Jesus’ feet. After seeing Jesus, Mary ran to find Jesus’ disciples… yes… the ones not at the tomb weeping… and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Mary was the first person to whom the Risen Jesus appeared.
My friends, the resurrection of Jesus Christ can change EVERYTHING for you. Like Mary’s life was healed by Jesus’ act of compassion in casting those demons from her, Jesus’ death and resurrection can bring an entirely New Life to you. He can take a life that is possessed by sin… broken… separated from God… without hope… and restore it by bringing eternal life. Mary knew Jesus, and it changed everything for her… do you know Jesus?
Because when you know Jesus… when you believe in Him, and trust Him to forgive you — something extraordinary happens. God declares, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 ESV Oh, what joy, when Jesus knows your name!
Leave a Reply