After an arduous night of writhing pain, Mary sat up and combed her long disheveled hair. She wanted to look pretty for her cousin Rachel, who would be arriving any minute. She heard a knock and opened the door. Rachel entered and gave Mary a nice warm hug. "Another rough night?" Rachel asked. "Yes...the seizures come without warning. I wish I had a normal life."
Rachel seemed anxious to tell Mary the latest news. She loosened her linen neck scarf and put the bread and honey on the table. "I attended Synagogue yesterday and heard the women talking about a woodworker from Nazareth; who, rumor had it, healed sick people. They even claimed he raised the dead! Do you want to go with me and see this miracle-maker?"
Mary bowed her head and stared at the floor. "Uh..I'm..uh sorry Rachel..I can't. The people laugh and call me crazy. I can't bear anymore disgrace." She couldn't hide the pain in her voice.
"It's okay, Mary. Let's have some rye bread with wild honey." They dined and reminisced about the 'carefree' days enjoyed as children. Mary tried to conceal her deep anguish.
"Well, I should be going and will pray you rest peacefully tonight. Take care of your precious self."
"You are kind, dear cousin." They hugged once more and said their good-byes.
Mary was grateful for Rachel's friendly visit: it deeply stirred her to hope and dream, for the first time, about a better life. Nazareth--a small secluded town just 20 miles southwest from where she grew up--could any 'good' thing come from there? How would a simple carpenter help her condition?
One sunny, clear day Mary decided to wash clothes and hang them outside. When she collected the dirty towels she noticed Rachel's scarf looped around a chair. "Oh," she mumbled, "after I finish the laundry, I must return the scarf and take fresh figs."
Cautiously, Mary ventured out on the dusty road toward Rachel's home. On the way, she saw a large crowd of people gathered by the Galilean seashore. Something compelled her to draw nearer for a better view. She walked closer and heard the teacher clearly. He spoke living and truthful words: they quickened her soul and penetrated her helpless heart.
The Nazarene's eyes fell on the once-vibrant, now-tormented woman from Magdala. The healer stood up, walked straight through the curious masses, and placed his calloused but compassionate hands tenderly upon Mary's head. His authoritative voice resonated loudly and commanded the evil spirits back to hell.
In an instant, Mary Magdalene was made whole.
"So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free" (John 8:36 NLT).
"After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons" (Mark 16:9 NLT).
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