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!

 

 

 

Resurrection Power in Your Everyday Life.

 

We are the people of the Resurrection!  Satan never recovered from that blast.  He is kept alive and manipulated.  With breathtaking denial he lurches forward using smoke and mirrors to lie to believers.  He does not want you to know the power that should fuel your life.  He winces at the thought that you would see the ongoing explosion of power and apply it to your daily life! 

Here is the verse for you right now: “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.   What does it mean that the same Spirit is in us? It means that the Spirit of God came upon Jesus, blasted Him from death, and obliterated the plan of evil.  Now that Spirit is in us to give us resurrection life in our body, mind, and spirit.

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 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 for you to have a personal Easter.  Forget the trappings of the holiday!  Forget about once a year!  I am talking about the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead quickening you every day.  I am talking about an explosion that starts within and overwhelms every enemy of your soul.  Let’s get going! Here are some key points I want to make to help you release resurrection life from the Holy Spirit.

Seek not to understand so that you may believe, but believe so that you may understand.  “How could this have happened?”  Now that is a question that can paralyze you.  Right now you may want to sit and cry or worse, lie down and die. This is a time for action not reflection.  Our problems need no further analysis.  We have researched everything to death.  We are drowning in words!  Job sat with his friends and went over the whole thing again and again.  We got a good book out of it, but all he got was extended agony. 

The Spirit of God drove David to action! 1 Samuel 30:6-8, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.   7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” 

David knew God was good and all powerful.  It makes no sense to entertain thoughts that God has failed you. David honored God by believing and trusting.  He did not ask, “Why did this happen.”  He asked instead, “What do you want me to do?”  Your best move is to actively cooperate with the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.

We don’t understand and then believe!  We believe and then we will understand!  This is the only way to approach God with your problem. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”- Hebrews 11:6.  You will never sit there and solve the riddle.  You rise up and go in the Spirit of God. You will find that the pieces of the puzzle will begin to fall into place.

We must go anyway!  “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!”

Going anyway is what we are all about.  At the end of our going there is a Mighty God who will lavishly reward our going! Here is the last part of Hebrews 11:6 again, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

But why did she go?  She went because she heard Him teach.  Words of life embedded themselves in the deepest part of her soul.  His words 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.  This is the burning question you must ask yourself, “Why should I keep going?”

That Spirit is within you.  It is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. It is the Spirit that makes 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.

Satan hijacks appearances.  Easter was born in this kind of adversity and for this kind of adversity.  If Satan is throwing the identical garbage at us that he threw at them then we 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.

Dreading coming evil only increases the danger! There is no way that I would diminish the battle you face.  No question, you are facing some intense warfare.  However, there is something even more important than the battle you are facing… and that is the images of dread that the evil one throws at you.  The mere apprehension of coming evil has put many believers into great danger.  Even the devil knows that God will bring you out of this.  He knows the outcome of every child of God is triumph.  He is using our ignorance against us.

It is painful to watch my nation destroy itself.  So much of the crisis is not even actual problems but alarmist voices that are drowning out the voice of reason.  You must not join in this panic.  You must see yourself “seated with Christ in heavenly places!” 

Hang your life on this promise of God!  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. 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!!!