Monday, July 23, 2012

Mary Magdalene...

This post is in response to a post from Carol of The Median Sib about women pastors.

Ann Graham Lotts was invited to speak at a gathering that was predominately men. When she stood up at the podium to speak, several rows of men stood up, turned their chairs around and faced away from her in protest.

When Ann went home, she knelt in tears to prayerfully seek the Lord's guidance. She was led to the passage in the Bible when Mary Magdalene was told my the Lord Jesus Himself to "go and tell the disciples..." So Mary Magdalene was the first evangelist to tell the Good News of the resurrection.

Below is an article in this months, Today's Christian Woman. Basically the article is to address the current interest in the Da Vinci Code fictional movie that has mixed truth with fiction in such a way as to jump on the band wagon of a political stance seeking to diminish the influence of the Christian world view. It was written by Liz Curtis Higgs and entitled, "Mary Magdalene; Meet the real friend and follower of Jesus."

Was Mary Magdalene the wife of Jesus, the mother of his children, or the Holy Grail, as The Da Vinci Code claims? Or the repentant prostitute of Jesus Christ Superstar, throwing herself at the Master's feet and singing, "I Don't Know How to Love Him"?

According to Scripture, Mary Magdalene was none of the above. And more than the above.

We find her story in all four gospels, where she's mentioned by name 14 times. This is significant, since many women of the Bible are nameless.

Here's her eye-opening, one-line biography: "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons" (Mark 16:9). Possessed by Satan, she was repossessed by Christ, then privileged to witness his resurrection. Oh! She has a story, all right—but not a scandalous one.

There are seven Marys in the New Testament: Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Clopas's wife; Mary of Bethany; John Mark's mother; a diligent worker; and James and Joses' mother, who's also was called "the other Mary."

Two thousand years of art and literature haven't helped Mary Magdalene's cause. She often is depicted as the unnamed prostitute who washed Jesus' feet with her tears (Luke 7:37-50), or the woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-11), or as Lazarus' sister—who was from Bethany, not Magdala and as the woman who anointed the Lord's head with costly perfume (Mark 14:3-9, John 11:2). Fascinating women, all—but not Mary Magdalene.

The real Mary Magdalene led the faithful sisters in financing the Lord's work "out of their own means" (Luke 8:3) and following Jesus wherever he went.

For her devotion alone, Mary Magdalene serves as a fine role model for twenty-first-century believers. Follow her to the tomb on Easter morning, and you'll learn the greatest lesson Mary Magdalene has to offer.

When Mary Magdalene "saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance" (John 20:1), and Jesus told her to "go and tell", she hurried to Jerusalem and convinced Peter and John to see the empty tomb. I might have started with a lesser disciple, but this leader among women went right to the top. Clearly they respected her, because they wasted no time running back with her.

Finding it empty, the two disciples returned to their homes, while Mary remained weeping outside the tomb, unwilling to abandon her Lord. Such faithfulness was soon rewarded. Two angels in white appeared, followed by a stranger whom she mistook for a gardener, until the moment he spoke her name: "Mary" (John 20:16).

Her response was immediate. And it was not "Honey" but "Rabboni!" The meaning is "my great teacher," and the nature of their relationship is clear: teacher and student, leader and follower, but not husband and wife.

Before Jesus returned to his heavenly home, he had an assignment for Mary Magdalene: "Go … to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God' " (John 20:17). Did she ever! With her own eyes, she'd seen him. With her own ears, she'd heard him. With her own hands, she'd touched him. And so she proclaimed, "I have seen the Lord!" (John 20:18). A personal, undeniable testimony, setting the example for us all.

Two thousand years ago Mary Magdalene heeded the command of Jesus to go and tell. May we follow in her footsteps, seeing the Christ with new eyes, then declaring his glorious truth to a world longing for answers.

Digging Deeper

1. According to Luke 8:1-3, what facts do we know about Mary Magdalene and her relationship with Jesus?

2. Following Christ can and will cost us everything, as Matthew 10:37-39 testifies. How do those verses exemplify Mary Magdalene's life? In what ways might she serve as a role model for you?

3. Like Mary Magdalene, we are called to go and tell the world that Jesus is alive. Read the following verses—Acts 20:24, Galatians 1:10-12, and 1 Thessalonians 2:8—then offer a prayer of commitment to share that Good News.


Carol said...

Thanks for refering my post at TMS. And Thanks for the wonderful elaboration and clarification on the topic. Sometimes I think I've gone overboard on this topic, but it keeps coming up. said...

This cannot succeed in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.

33bbhair33 said...