Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mary's story

 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” - John 20:16 (NIV) 

I was a mess. All my wealth couldn’t help me.
Then Jesus cast seven demons from me when He commanded them to leave my weary, diseased body.
I am Mary, the one they call “Magadalene.” That’s not my last name. I’m from Magdala, a town on the western shore of Galilee. Don’t confuse me with the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair at Simon’s place. Demons don’t make folks sin; they cause sicknesses of all kinds. When it comes to sin, we humans always have a choice.
When Jesus healed me, I wanted to do something for Him. No way could I ever repay Him for what He did for me. He didn’t expect me to. But my affluence could be used to help support Him and His disciples so they could in turn minister to others.
I thought He’d eventually be crowned King of Israel. So did the people who waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
By the end of the week, though, they were screaming “Crucify Him!” Disappointment can be a bitter thing when someone doesn’t turn out to be what you want. I’d seen His miracles. I knew He had the power to overcome the crowds. I didn’t understand why He didn’t. After all He’d done for folks—this was how they repaid Him.
I followed Him as, broken and bloodied, He trudged up Calvary. He was too weak to shoulder His cross. He’d been up all night standing trial before the Sanhedrin, then turned over to the Romans to be beaten, scourged and mocked, then the very folks He helped shrieked His death sentence . . . I don’t know how He did it.
It was almost as though He chose to die.
Confused and brokenhearted, I followed at a distance. I watched in horror as those giant nails were pounded through His hands and feet. I felt His cry of anguish in the deepest part of my soul. As the blackness grew around me, I heard His last words—“Father, forgive them,” “Today you will be with Me in Paradise,” “It is finished,” and, finally, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
I followed Joseph and Nicodemus as they buried Him—in Joseph’s own tomb. Sabbath was upon us, and I couldn’t do anything until it was over. As soon as it was, though, I was on my way to the tomb, armed with myrrh and aloes to anoint His precious body. I wondered how I’d get in. I wouldn’t be able to move that huge boulder.
But I needn’t have worried. When I got there, it had been rolled aside. I stepped inside. Jesus’ body wasn’t there!
As I stood in the garden, weeping—wailing—it was as though I’d lost Him all over again. Through my tears I saw a man approach. The gardener! Maybe he’d know who took Jesus.
“Tell me where you’ve put Him,” I begged.
A pause.
Then . . .

I knew that voice! I blinked in awe.
        May the reality of Your resurrection, O Lord, be refreshed in my soul this Easter. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read John 20:1-18

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