One of the greatest cruelties—if not the greatest 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.
Then Jesus rescued her. Jesus cast out seven vicious devils—devils she thought would never leave. Once deemed human garbage, she is now redeemed and planted 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 now all distant memories.
For three 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 back 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 the 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. She must have thought, “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, and perhaps too tired to commit suicide…
Mary is of special importance to me today, because her testimony is the best one I can think of as we commemorate this Good Friday, in such a dark time as the one we are living in. Mary’s miracle is the miracle 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 coming over her. She soon felt an even stranger impulse—to go to the tomb where Jesus lay! How could she return to the only spot on earth that could reopen her wound?
What overruled her despair? What fuel was 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 of her soul? Can any drug, any teaching, any relationship, reassemble her heart the way the gentle but powerful Comforter 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, theoretically, began the universe. The resurrection sent shock waves through the principalities and powers of darkness. It shattered Satan’s power and stripped him of the keys of death and Hell (Rev. 1:8). Jesus set the captives free in the bowels of the earth, and “led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8).
But, the first burst of resurrection power was much gentler. Mary was the first human to feel the power of the resurrection. Her eyes, which were red and sore from sobbing, were now refreshed and clear. Her arms which had hung limp from heartsick lethargy were now responsive, strong, and full of purpose. She sat up and found hope pumping through her veins. She wondered, “Why!”
A notion seized her, gently, but firmly. She knew she was to go to the tomb, and she immediately got going! Washing up, brushing her hair, and quickly getting dressed. All the while the expectancy of an indescribable ‘something’ was building in her soul. Before she knew it, she was out the door, and charging toward her worst fear. Only, now, she was not afraid.
She found the tomb vacant. Then 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 today, 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…hunting down everything natural and replacing it with a disfigured counterfeit. It has marched, protested, and boycotted the very color and life out of everything—to the point that everything is a cause for taking offense.
What happened to Mary, is proof that there is nothing better than the Gospel.
America! This is what you need!
“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” (Mark 16:9).
JESUS APPEARED FIRST TO MARY! He had never forgotten her. He knew she was suffering the most, so He healed this precious soul first!