My dear Covenant Partners and GEM Family,
Mary Magdalene’s story of redemption and transformation would probably rank as one of the most compelling stories of all time. Before she met Jesus, Mary’s life was scripted for disaster and tragedy. She was a demoniac who was oppressed by seven demons, a number signifying total dominance by Satan. Demons were fallen angels ruled by Satan. They knew who Jesus was. They were in fear of Him and there was no reconciliation possible between them and Jesus. Mary was controlled by the most powerful and destructive forces of evil! Her wretched condition brought disgrace to her family as well, the prevalent view being that her deplorable condition was the result of her own sins or the sins of her family. Salvation was beyond her reach and God had rejected her. Mary clearly belonged to the kingdom of darkness and doom.
In these adverse circumstances, Mary met Jesus who healed her and she became his disciple: “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” (Luke 8: 1-2). After they had been healed, Mary and these women of means provided Jesus and His disciples out of their resources (Luke 8: 3). Through Jesus, Mary has experienced health of body and mind, and her spirit has been healed. She became his devoted disciple, following Him generously and wholeheartedly, all the way to His death and burial on Calvary.
In the shorter ending, Mark 16: 2-7, Mary Magdalene and the two other women returned to the tomb of Jesus to complete the burial rites. They are amazed to find that the stone closing the tomb has been rolled back. We are told that it was very large, implying that the women did not have the physical strength to roll it back and gain entrance. Then an angel appeared to them as a young man. He is dressed in a white robe, symbolic of the Risen Lord. In their amazement, God’s messenger gives them totally unexpected good news: “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” The tomb is empty because Jesus has been raised. In the Upper Room, Jesus had told His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee after His resurrection (Mark 14: 28). The angel tells them that Jesus will be true to His word. Finally, the angel asks the women to be witnesses to the disciples of Jesus’ resurrection.
In the longer version, Mark 16: 9-11, the Risen Lord gives Mary the exquisite privilege of appearing to her: “Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven demons.” Fittingly, the early Christian community presented this apparition to Mary as the first one recorded in the Gospels. Mary Magdalene was one of the great icons of the early Christian community.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus brought about an amazing transformation in Mary Magdalene. He could bring salvation and transformation to Mary because He was God, and His resurrection bore indisputable testimony to His divinity. Mary is very special to Jesus, and the Risen Lord gives her the exquisite privilege of appearing to her. Only Jesus could recognize God’s image and likeness in Mary, snatch her out of the hands of Satan, and claim her as His own. May you be blessed in God’s Embrace! You are in our daily prayers!