TITLE: Mary Magdalene
By stephanie erickson
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Supernatural Devastation to Spiritual Restoration
Mary Magdalene’s Supernatural transformation
Broken hearted, tormented soul, shattered dreams, scarred past, anguished present, hopeless future was the heartrending life of a woman known as Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene is a stirring picture of a woman whose life was transformed through the redeeming, love of her Savior and Lord of her life….Jesus.
In order to understand who this unique woman was it is vital we first understand who she is not. In John Chapter 8: 1-11 we are captivated by a story of a woman who is caught in adultery and saved from stoning by Christ. Many times Mary Magdalene has been linked with this particular woman. However, there is no basis for association with this woman and Mary Magdalene. In John 12:1-8 we are invited to view another moving account of a woman by the name of Mary who anointed Jesus with very costly oil, and then wiped his feet with her hair. This particular Mary is known as Mary of Bethany; sister of Martha and Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead. Finally we see another suggestive probability in Luke 7:36-39. This woman, described as a sinner in the city, anointed Jesus’ feet while He dined with a Pharisee. Again, this woman should not be confused with Mary Magdalene nor Mary of Bethany. Finally, Mary Magdalene is not Jesus’ mother, nor Mary the wife of Clopas, mentioned in John 19:25. Sadly, there has been much attempt to demean this beautiful story of a broken, lost woman who was restored/ redeemed by Jesus. The purity in the relationship between Jesus and Mary ignites hope in the hearts of many who yearn for truth, trust, love without seductive involvement. Christ offers that sweetness, holiness and sacred purity to each one of us. I also believe the pure relationship between Jesus and Mary brings a message of value, and spiritual freedom to women, in the name of Jesus, around the world. Perhaps this is why there has been such an attack on this particular story. For example a somewhat recent book titled the Da Vinci Code- by Dan Brown suggests that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were secretly married and had children. This same book also suggests Mary Magdalene was the beloved disciple rather than John. The Da Vinci Code, or rather Dan Brown, derives much of his theories from a Gnostic interpretation. This interpretation is simply not true.
Now that we know who she is not, let’s talk about who Mary Magdalene is. In Luke 8:1-2 we discover that Mary Magdalene was inflicted with seven demons and Jesus healed her from them all. There you have it; that is our Mary Magdalene! Though her first name is certainly Mary there is not enough supportive evidence that confirms her last name. Mary was actually from a city called Magdala; it is probable that the last name Magdalene was used in reference to her city, as well as distinguish her from the many other Mary’s in her time. Let’s briefly touch on this mysterious, city. Magdala was known for its skill in processing fish and also had a successful enterprise in boat building. Magdala was also noted to be a wealthy city full of depravity. What an interesting correlation that our precious Mary came from a city of wealth and corruption. We have gathered a somewhat distinct picture of Mary’s external environment, now let’s take a peek at the internal chaos of a demon possessed person to help us understand Mary’s life prior to her healing.
In Matthew 8:28-34 we read about two demon possessed men whom Jesus confronted. We also learn that these possessed men behaved so fiercely that people were afraid to go near them (isolation). These men lived in the graveyard! Think with me for a moment, what is in a graveyard? Why would a person who is among the living choose to reside among the dead? John 10:10 tells us the thief, another name for Satan, comes to steal, kill and destroy. Here we see a brief example of this truth in the lives of these two demon inflicted men. We see another account of a demon possessed man, in Mark 5:1-5, he too is living in a graveyard. This man was often shackled with chains but he regularly pulled the chains apart. What do you think your body would look like each time you pulled the chains off of you? I imagine a blood clad body with bruises and scars. This passage also states that this demon possessed man cut himself (self-mutilation) with stones. This man’s life was full of pain and hopelessness. The same scripture states that no one could subdue this uncontrollable man. Indeed no one could but Jesus, and we clearly see Jesus does save him. We also learn that demonic possession in some instances is associated with deafness (Mark 9:25) blindness, inability to speak (Matthew 12:22), seizures and violence (Luke 9: 37-42).
Keep in mind that when we read these particular accounts there are one or two demons involved. We have gathered a detailed account of Mary’s internal struggle and a somewhat distinct picture of her external dwelling. We know that Mary was possessed by seven demons. We also have a more clear understanding of what demonic possession looks like. With this information we can begin to move to a closer understanding of the horrid life Mary Magdalene led before Christ. If she were a painter would her pictures incorporate death, blood, pain, sorrow, loneliness, darkness, self-mutilation, and a host of other despondent imagery? Finally we know that Christ saved her from it all; what a breath of much needed fresh air! Mary led a life of bondage, slavery to demonic forces and sin. Through the mighty word of her redeeming Lord or perhaps it was through a gentle touch of his powerful, healing hands that He delivered Mary from her dark, spiritually decaying life, and set her free to live a life of righteousness. Mary confessed with her mouth-Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:10)- thus a woman whose story begins under the control of dark, supernatural forces, ends in glorious, spiritual victory!
It is no wonder why Mary followed Jesus faithfully and passionately; she had been healed and forgiven of much (Luke 7:47). Mary followed Jesus to the cross, and remained with Him until His last breath at the cross. It must have broken her heart to see the lifeless, mangled, body of Jesus after all He had done for her. Mary followed His broken body to the tomb; she was first to reach His tomb at daybreak. It is probable that she came to anoint His broken body with spices and fragrant oils. I imagine Mary Magdalene’s emotions were raw with pain and yet numb with shock. Though she believed in the truthful, captivating words of her Savior Jesus, it is obvious at this point His resurrection never entered her mind. Mary, a woman who once lived life in darkness, shame, and hopelessness; experienced the honored, privilege of being the first person to see Jesus resurrected (John 20:1-18). She was the first to receive the good news from the mouth of Jesus himself. No one can share in her delight or take this glorious honor away from Mary.
Mary’s character reflects a woman of diligence in seeking intimacy with Christ; persistence, which led her first to the tomb, faithfulness as she followed Christ in life, to His death, and ultimately drew her to His resurrection. Mary never forgot who she was before Christ saved her and what He did for her on that sweet day of deliverance. Who would have ever thought this broken, demon possessed individual would become the first person, to see Christ resurrected! Mary’s devastated life before Christ’s deliverance, brings hope to the bleakest of lives. (Romans 8:31-39).
Are you ready to be set free, released from “your demons?” Are you ready to accept God’s forgiveness that reaches beyond feelings of worthlessness? Lastly are you ready to be filled with the Spirit, and then sent out by the one who knows you well and loves you much? I encourage you to seek healing in Jesus, experience freedom from deadly supernatural darkness and embrace invigorating spiritual victory! (Isaiah 61:1-3)
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