MARY MAGDALENE THE DAY JESUS DIED

One of the greatest cruelties—if not the greatest cruelty in history—was done to Mary Magdalene.  She was once sold on the streets. She knew the special insanity of demon possession.  She knew the yawning blackness of total despair.

Jesus rescued her.  Jesus cast out 7 vicious devils—devils she thought would never leave.  Once deemed human garbage she is now redeemed, and rooted into a family of indescribable love.  Things would never be the same.  Her nights of remorse, her days of futility, her shame, her emptiness were all distant memories.

For 3 years, she lived a life she could have never imagined.  Crisscrossing Judea, hanging on Jesus’ every word, weeping gloriously over every miracle.  Each morning she awakened a more powerful and joyous woman of God!  She thought that this would go on forever.

People use the phrase “nothing could be worse…”  They use it before describing something unimaginably terrible.  I will use it this way: Nothing could be worse than to be in hell, and then taste heaven, only to return to hell.

Then on that fateful day it all went horribly, horribly wrong.  How could the one who called the dead back to life, and silenced a storm at sea be arrested?  How could one who gave words of exquisite beauty, love and wisdom, be tortured and killed.  No one wanted to save Jesus more than Mary.  No one felt more horror and helplessness than she.

That night, profound hope had given way to even deeper bitterness and disappointment.  If only I had never met him.  If only he had left me to die in the streets.  She slept only after exhaustion became more powerful than sorrow.   Too wounded to go on living.  Maybe too tired to commit suicide.

Mary matters to me today because her testimony is the best one I can think of on this Good Friday in such a dark time.  Mary’s miracle is the one America needs now!  Here’s why…

When the first shafts of Sunday morning light stirred her awake, she dreaded it.  If ever a heart was broken beyond repair—if ever a soul would rage against the approach of hope—if ever a woman just wanted to go back to sleep and never wake up, it was Mary.

That is why she was shocked when she felt an odd energy.  She soon felt an even stranger impulse… to go to the grave of Jesus?  How could she return to the only spot on earth that could open her wound wider?

What overruled her despair?  What fuel is driving her so completely against her common sense and her broken heart?  Paul answers that emphatically! “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”- Romans 8:11

Do you know any therapist capable of rebuilding the ashes and rubble in her soul?  Can any drug, any teaching, any relationship, reassemble her heart the way this gentle but powerful influence could?

We all know about the power of the resurrection.  It was the greatest display of power the universe has ever known; even greater than the alleged “big bang” that birthed the universe. It sent shock waves through the principalities and powers of darkness.  It shattered hell and stripped Satan of the keys of death.  Jesus set the captives free in the bowels of the earth and “led captivity captive.”

But the first burst of resurrection power was much gentler. She was the first human to feel the power of the resurrection.  Her eyes which were red and sore from sobbing are now refreshed and clear.  Her arms which hung limp from heartsick lethargy were now responsive, strong, and full of purpose. She sat up and found hope pumping through her veins. She did not know why!

A notion gently but firmly seizes her.  She was to go to the grave.  She got going!  Washing up, brushing her hair, and quickly getting dressed; all the while the expectancy of some indescribable something is building in her soul.  Before she knows it she is out the door and charging toward her worst fear.  Only she is not afraid.

She found the tomb vacant.  She turned and saw Him whom her soul loved.  Many awesome things happened that Easter but none more wonderful than Mary reunited with her Savior.

In the genetically altered, politically charged, drug addicted, violent purgatory that is America, Mary Magdalene stands as a poignant figure.   She is the best testimony I can think of for our national dreams that have gone up in smoke.  Our culture has wearied itself with perversion…hunted everything natural and replaced it with a disfigured counterfeit… it has marched, protested, boycotted the very color and life out of everything—everything is a cause to take offense.

What happened to Mary is why there is nothing better than the Gospel.  America!  This is what you need!

Mark 16:9, “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” HE APPEARED FIRST TO HER!  He never forgot her. He knew she was suffering the most so He healed this precious soul first!

 

 

 

Mary Magdalene on the day Jesus died

One of the greatest cruelties—if not the greatest cruelty in history—was done to Mary Magdalene.  She was once sold on the streets. She knew the special insanity of demon possession.  She knew the yawning blackness of total despair.

Jesus rescued her.  Jesus cast out 7 vicious devils—devils she thought would never leave.  Once deemed human garbage she is now redeemed, and rooted into a family of indescribable love.  Things would never be the same.  Her nights of remorse, her days of futility, her shame, her emptiness were all distant memories.

For 3 years, she lived a life she could have never imagined.  Crisscrossing Judea, hanging on Jesus’ every word, weeping gloriously over every miracle.  Each morning she awakened a more powerful and joyous woman of God!  She thought that this would go on forever.

People use the phrase “nothing could be worse…”  They use it before describing something unimaginably terrible.  I will use it this way: Nothing could be worse than to be in hell, and then taste heaven, only to return to hell.

Then on that fateful Friday it all went horribly, horribly wrong.  How could the one who called the dead back to life, and silenced a storm at sea be arrested?  How could one who gave words of exquisite beauty, love and wisdom, be tortured and killed.  No one wanted to save Jesus more than Mary.  No one felt more horror and helplessness than she.

That night, profound hope had given way to even deeper bitterness and disappointment.  If only I had never met him.  If only he had left me to die in the streets.  She slept only after exhaustion became more powerful than sorrow.   Too wounded to go on living.  Maybe too tired to commit suicide.

Mary matters to me today because her testimony is the best one I can think of on this Good Friday in such a dark time.  Mary’s miracle is the one America needs now!  Here’s why…

When the first shafts of Sunday morning light stirred her awake, she dreaded it.  If ever a heart was broken beyond repair—if ever a soul would rage against the approach of hope—if ever a woman just wanted to go back to sleep and never wake up, it was Mary.

That is why she was shocked when she felt an odd energy.  She soon felt an even stranger impulse… to go to the grave of Jesus?  How could she return to the only spot on earth that could open her wound wider?

What overruled her despair?  What fuel is driving her so completely against her common sense and her broken heart?  Paul answers that emphatically! “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”- Romans 8:11

Do you know any therapist capable of rebuilding the ashes and rubble in her soul?  Can any drug, any teaching, any relationship, reassemble her heart the way this gentle but powerful influence could?

We all know about the power of the resurrection.  It was the greatest display of power the universe has ever known; even greater than the alleged “big bang” that birthed the universe. It sent shock waves through the principalities and powers of darkness.  It shattered hell and stripped Satan of the keys of death.  Jesus set the captives free in the bowels of the earth and “led captivity captive.”

But the first burst of resurrection power was much gentler. She was the first human to feel the power of the resurrection.  Her eyes which were red and sore from sobbing are now refreshed and clear.  Her arms which hung limp from heartsick lethargy were now responsive, strong, and full of purpose. She sat up and found hope pumping through her veins. She did not know why!

A notion gently but firmly seizes her.  She was to go to the grave.  She got going!  Washing up, brushing her hair, and quickly getting dressed; all the while the expectancy of some indescribable something is building in her soul.  Before she knows it she is out the door and charging toward her worst fear.  Only she is not afraid.

She found the tomb vacant.  She turned and saw Him whom her soul loved.  Many awesome things happened that Easter but none more wonderful than Mary reunited with her Savior.

In the genetically altered, politically charged, drug addicted, violent purgatory that is America, Mary Magdalene stands as a poignant figure.   She is the best testimony I can think of for our national dreams that have gone up in smoke.  Our culture has wearied itself with perversion…hunted everything natural and replaced it with a disfigured counterfeit… it has marched, protested, boycotted the very color and life out of everything—everything is a cause to take offense.

What happened to Mary is why there is nothing better than the Gospel.  America!  This is what you need!

Mark 16:9, “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” HE APPEARED FIRST TO HER!  He never forgot her. He knew she was suffering the most so He healed this precious soul first!

The Most Encouraging Secret.

encouragement  insert

THE MOST ENCOURAGING SECRET

By Mario Murillo

The Resurrection of Jesus was the greatest display of power the universe has ever known; even greater than the alleged “big bang” that birthed the universe.

Satan never recovered from that blast.  Stripped of power, desperate and delusional, he lurches forward using smoke and mirrors to lie to believers.  And there is one thing about the Resurrection of Christ that He must hide at all cost:

Satan wants you to think of the Resurrection as a past event that you honor when it is should be more like a wall socket that you plug into and use the current of its power to defeat the horrors of your daily life. He quakes at the thought that you would see that the Resurrection is an ongoing explosion of victory.

Here is your verse:But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” -Romans 8:11.

Right now you may be facing the fight of your life.  It may be the devastating loss of a job, a home, self-respect, or even a loved one.  You may feel your heart failing and your body withering from the warfare.  It is time for action, but not just any action.  It is time to find power over your enemy and the storm you are facing.  It is time to apply the power of the Resurrection to your personal crisis.

How do we apply the power of the Resurrection to the devastating warfare of our daily life?  Let’s ask the first human being who ever did it: Mary Magdalene.

It is one thing to live in despair and poverty and not know anything different but it is quite another kind of hell to have known relief from demon possession and shame and embrace abundance only to be cast back into the gutter of life.  That was Mary’s world on Easter morning.

His words of life embedded themselves in the deepest part of her soul.  They were beyond real to her.  When life threw “the facts” at her, His word was in her soul and so the facts no longer counted.  But Now that He was dead why should she keep going?

She had every right to lay there and try to sleep off her unspeakable disappointment.  But something entered her room.  It woke her up and gave her the strangest notion. She would get up and go to the one place that would verify her hopelessness: the tomb.

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.”-John 20:1.

Mary Magdalene felt utterly lost when she went to the tomb, but she went anyway.  She did not know who would roll away the stone for her, but she went anyway.  Her actions were not based on the facts as she knew them but on the glorious automatic pilot of her faith.  If you and I could have interviewed that amazing woman that morning we might have heard these words: “Yes, I saw Him die, yes, I know He is in a tomb, yes I know this is crazy but I am going anyway!”

He is Risen

Satan is throwing the identical garbage at you that he threw at Mary.  That is why you can expect the identical victory.  There seemed to be nothing good about Good Friday.  Lucifer hijacked the Cross for his own ends.  In all of the confusion, the disciples forgot that Jesus said this would happen.  The Cross was a divine event that ignited power and hope for all men.  Satan made it look like it was a horrifying, humiliating end for all of the disciples.

That same Spirit that woke Mary up and sent her to the glorious discovery that Jesus was alive is within you.  It is the same Spirit that will make you get up one more time and go after your reward and fight for what you love.  He empowers you to dust off your dream, shake off the cobwebs of modern thinking, and storm toward victory with clear direction.

Right now you stare at the sputtering rubble that was once your dream and torture yourself with speculation: “How could this have happened?”   That question will paralyze you.  You may want to sit and cry or worse, lie down and die.

Mary did not get out of bed because she saw through the lie, but because power, resurrection power made her feel direction and inexplicable hope.  I am not asking you to understand all that has happened to you, I am asking you to surrender to that power and watch it carry you to the victory you cannot even imagine now.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

How is His peace different?  Philippians 4:7 Explains: “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This was the peace that arrived after the Resurrection.  A sense of comfort and hope that would clothe you even before the facts and the outcome supported the peace.

If the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in you then it will give you life, life to get up and try again, life to trust God even before you know why tragedy struck, life to feel hope before the miracle arrives. 

Confess it! It’s the same Spirit!  The same Spirit that resurrected Christ’s lifeless body will infuse my weary body with life.  Life will enter my soul and renew it to a just cause.  Life will enter my shattered dreams and raise me up to a tomorrow that seems unimaginable right now.  Life is coming, and not just any life but resurrection life.  You will live again, you will love again, and you will ride on the waves and finish strong on your appointed shore!  Hallelujah, Jesus is alive!!!

CONCORD PHONE NUMBER

 

We are only three days away from a historic gathering in Concord California.  On Sunday afternoon, the Contra Costa Room of the Crowne Plaza will be transformed into a temple of the Holy Spirit and a river of healing and saving power.   The prayers of many soldiers of faith have bombarded heaven.  Cell phones, social networks, street teams, church services and schools are abuzz with the news that Living Proof will be given to the East Bay Area.   If at all possible make your plans to join us.  Bring someone who needs to be healed or needs to see the proof of Jesus Christ’s power today.

Easter for the Rest of Us.

Easter for the Rest of Us.

The Middle East is a bonfire of revolutions.  The American economy is paralyzed.  The soul of our nation is deeply divided. Americans feel adrift aboard a rudderless ship. There is a constant nagging fear that asks, “What could be next?”   People are truly scared and confused.  This year a preacher’s Easter message this year better have teeth and muscle!

The Easter pulpit faces a double challenge this year!  First, there is the usual challenge of Easter itself.  No preacher worth his salt can deny feeling a special intimidation.  You know all the grand themes of the resurrection.  You know what to preach about but how do you make it original and fresh?  We all know that glorious sermons have been preached by better preachers.  Every angle of the Easter story has been investigated and elucidated.  So many amazing plays, pageants, and movies have proclaimed the majestic themes of this day again and again.

Then, as I said before, audiences will not be easily soothed from their pain.  They will need a lot more than a stirring musical or an eloquent speech.  They will be like Nebuchadnezzar on the morning after his fearful dream.  The King demands truth!  He orders the soothsayers, astrologers, and merchants of the mystical to tell him what he dreamed before they offer an interpretation. And for good reason…this time he needs a real answer.   Pastor beware, the souls that will fill your pews this Easter will also need a real answer! 

Could it be that the message of hope and power that would touch us all most deeply this year is not to be found in the grand themes?  Maybe we are looking high when we should be looking low. Maybe the message that will give us courage and heal our fears this Easter will not be found in a glorious stone that rolled away or in angels that shine like lightning but in something that happened in an obscure  room where a lonely, grief stricken woman just wanted to sleep it off.  But before we get to that, go back with me to the events that led up to her dark night of the soul.

We must do this!  Nothing wonderful can come of this letter until we first revisit the wretched world of that first Easter to see how much it mirrors our day. Men were sold like lobsters on the streets. Danger lurked at every turn.  Daily life crackled with instant disaster.  Hearts were being crushed in a vise. One jaw of the vise was the religious crime family of Jerusalem, stealing their money, and the other was Rome robbing their freedom. The working class was helpless to protect their children from coming disaster.  They were weakened by the false message of their leaders, and they were helpless to stop the sadistic changes imposed on them by a distant, insane emperor.

Then Jesus came!  What a breathtaking turn of events! His gracious words dispel fear, give purpose, direction, meaning, and love in a way they could not explain.  Neither could they deny it.  The overwhelming mood of the people was hope that a Kingdom had come on Earth that would be just and everlasting.  

Then on that fateful Friday it all went horribly, horribly wrong.  The twelve disciples scatter, overcome by shock.  This is not the way it was supposed to end!  Profound hope had given way to even deeper bitterness and disappointment.

Perhaps the greatest cruelty was left for Mary Magdalene.  She was once sold on the streets herself. She knew the special insanity of demon possession.  But she was rescued, redeemed, and rooted into a family of indescribable love.  Things would never be the same.  Her nights of remorse, her days of futility, her shame, her emptiness were all distant memories.  She had spent years crisscrossing Judea, hanging on His every word, weeping gloriously over every miracle.  Each morning she awakened a more powerful and joyous woman of God!  She thought that this would go on forever.

Jesus is crucified! Her fall and crash was so devastating precisely because her hopes were set so high.  The Gospel life she so completely counted on, the myriad of dreams she nursed in her spirit, the plans, oh the plans she hung her life on, gone, gone forever.  How much more cruel is it to be yanked from the pit of hell and planted in heaven only now to return to the pit!

Easter 2012 feels a lot like that to many. Things that people loved and counted now seem gone for good.  We recall the high flying days when God seemed to be working everywhere and money flowed freely.  Newscasters love to use a torturous phrase for our American purgatory, they call it, “the new normal.”  Time magazine almost proudly proclaims the decline ofAmerica.  Visions and promises of yesterday now only seem to mock us.

She slept. She was too wounded to go on living but too tired to commit suicide. That is why she was so surprised when she was awakened by an odd energy.  She soon felt an even stranger impulse… to go to the grave of Jesus!  How many of those who lost loved ones in the rubble of theTwinTowerson 9-11 would want to go back and just stare at ground zero on 9-12?  Yet Mary felt she should return to the one spot on earth that only promised to confirm her nightmare and open her wound even wider.

What overruled her despair? What fuel is driving her so completely against her common sense and her broken heart?  Paul answers that emphatically! “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”- Romans 8:11

We all know about the power of the resurrection.  It was the greatest display of power the universe has ever known; even greater than the alleged “big bang” that birthed the universe. It sent shock waves through the principalities and powers of darkness.  It shattered hell and stripped Satan of the keys of death.  Jesus set the captives free in the bowels of the earth and “led captivity captive.” 

Even though it was equally powerful, a much gentler reverberation of resurrection power found Mary laying in her bed lifeless in the stupor of grief.  She was the first human to feel the power of the resurrection and what a strange and wonderful effect it has on her.

She yawns and stretches. Her eyes which were red and sore from sobbing are now refreshed and clear.  Her arms which hung limp from heartsick lethargy were now responsive, strong, and full of purpose. She sat up and found hope pumping through her veins. She did not know why!

A notion gently but firmly seizes her.  She was to go to the grave she so dreaded and despised.  She got going!  Washing up, brushing her hair, and quickly getting dressed; all the while the expectancy of some indescribable something is building in her soul.  Before she knows it she is out the door and charging toward her worst fear only she is not afraid!

She found the tomb vacant.  She turned and saw Him whom her soul loved.  At the risk of being repetitious I say again that many awesome things happened that Easter but none more wonderful than this reunion! Mark 16:9, “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” HE APPEARED FIRST TO HER!  He never forgot her. He knew she was suffering the most so He healed this precious soul first! 

Now let Him heal you with these promises and lessons from Mary Magdalene:

It is the same Spirit! The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead; the same spirit that lifted her from a bed of grief will flood your soul and fuel your victory! God will send a current of this very power through your body, mind, and spirit to quicken you to triumph over the crisis you are facing right now.

It will quicken courage that will lead you to acts of bravery. You will surge forth toward your greatest fear. You will feel energy for your everyday life. It will give you the power to take another step when you are convinced you cannot move.

It will replace temporal hope with eternal hope. Mary misunderstood. She did not get it when Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this earth.”  If only she could have known that her temporal hope would be replaced by an eternal hope. We have received, in this angry, polluted earthquake prone world, a KINGDOM that cannot be shaken.

Yes, there was an Easter for the disciples who finally saw him alive, an Easter for the angels who saw Him ascend, but the one that is sweetest, is the Easter where the warm liquid love of God entered a hurting soul and filled her with an indestructible hope.  Now that is Easter for the rest of us!