A sweet child knelt next to her grandmother.
The pew felt cold and hard, but the warmth of the voice next to her kept her comfortable and willing to go forward with the motions of worship. Cross your arms this way, hold you hands like that, and say these words were all the lessons of the day. Head knowledge eventually brought heart knowledge.
I was that child learning from my favorite person who this Jesus was and how God and Him were the same. I just knew this was truth and went on my merry childish ways.
I had the stories of the baptism in the Jordan River and the casting of demons into swine memorized. Standing below the cross occasionally in the church, I would look up at the hefty statue with scars in the His hands. I tried to imagine the pain. I believed that it was for me. I believed the truth of it yet I didn’t fully surrender myself to it.
I fell into bondage. Chains tightened around my aching heart as hurts, regrets, and anguish took hold. He didn’t seem near, and I didn’t care. I wanted to break free on my own accord, by my own strength. I failed time and time again. My bondage grew tighter the further I walked down the thorn filled path that only led into darkness.
I would still find church goers singing about breaking chains, singing the hymns about following Him. I would pray for peace and abundance, but I still held out for self-rescue.
Mary Magdalene, she was one I always thought of in a negative fashion. Something about her name has never sat right with me. I associated the negative thoughts from the stories I heard growing up. Disillusioned opinions on how she got to a place of high standing and wealth brought opinions flying from many directions. The ultimate truth is this: Mary was held in bondage by demons, bringing her down, tormenting her, and portraying a lie about her character.
Mary was me. Maybe I never found a lifestyle quite as her’s and I didn’t make my way up the status ladder by her means, but my bondage was no different. Sin, lies, and adversity weighted me down.
Scripture doesn’t introduced us to her as a woman of suspicious character or someone who is unworthy of The Lord’s presence. We are introduced to a healed woman, someone who was broken out of bondage.
Luke 8:1-3: Afterward [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
She was healed, and later became a disciple of Jesus. Mary Magdalene even received an amazing gift. She was the first one to whom The Lord appeared upon His resurrection.
You and I are healed by the cross, too. The burdens of my life, the sin that has kept locked in the darkness has been lifted. The Lord took it all with Him to Calvary and hung it all on that tree with His very humanity in my place. His death was for Mary and for me. His death was for mankind and for freedom.
You and I are healed by the cross, too!
Mary, our sister, was healed and was blessed immensely. She was the first to see Jesus after the resurrection. A testament to conversion and love, encouragement to all of us who fear we are lost to the bondage of the enemy’s lies.
John 20: 15-18
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.
Praise the Lord! If a woman is blessed in this immensity, I could have hope, too. I would not have to worry about surrendering to myself on my terms. I could surrender to truth and receive a healing like no other. I could be the woman at the well, the woman rescued at Jericho, the woman washing the Lord’s feet with treasured perfumes, and I could be the woman at the tomb, a disciple.
If you missed our other posts from this advent series, you can link here: ADVENT SERIES