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By: Larry Shaffer
This picture hangs in my home office.
Thank you for praying for me on Tuesday as I shared the Word with Men at the Star of Hope Gospel Mission. God was very kind to me and blessed my time of teaching. The men were encouraging and appreciative.
Christianity is sometimes accused of oppressing woman and suppressing their importance. I can’t speak to the way all supposed Christian men act, but the Bible, especially the life of Jesus, tells of many women who were immensely important in God’s plan and deeply loved and honored by Jesus. The first person that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene, not the bone-headed disciples.
John emphasizes the critical role of Mary Magdalene in the death and resurrection of Jesus. There’s no mention, except John, of the disciples being present at the crucifixion. However, John writes, But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. The Bible tells stories of noble women; sometimes outcasts in their time, wonderfully saved by the grace of God. There are many stories of women characterized by courage, passion and dedication. Here’s just a few:
It’s Easter morning, early while it is still dark. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and discovers the stone had been moved and the body is gone. She ran and told Peter and John that they have taken away the Lord. The disciples ran to the tomb and confirmed it was so. They then went into hiding, fearful of what has happened and of the Jews. However, Mary Magdalene couldn’t stay away from the tomb.
She went back to the tomb, distraught and weeping. Jesus appears to her. (She is mentioned 12 times in the gospels -many more than some of the lesser known disciples). She had a sinful past but Jesus healed her of the demons that were tormenting her (Luke 8:2) and she became a faithful, devoted and passionately follower of Jesus. Jesus first appeared NOT to John, Peter or James…but to Mary Magdalene.
It’s true that the disciples became the leaders of the church and would become known as bold and courageous preachers of the gospel. But Mary Magdalene was known as a true intimate of Jesus. Jesus called her by name. She was clinging to Jesus, always wanting to sit at His feet to worship Him and to learn from Him. From the moment He healed her of demon oppression and forgave her of her sin, she always remained close to Jesus.
Lord and Savior, there is much I can learn from Mary Magdalen. I re-commit myself to be a passionate follower of You. Help me to be so. Amen.