Just a few women were in Jesus ‘inner circle’. Among them were Mary, his mother, and the woman we studied this week: Mary Magdalene.
Her name is well known, but her reputation has been muddied by myth and broadly embellished over the years. Most think of her as an immoral woman-a former prostitute. But scripture never paints her in that light. Not at all.
“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
It wouldn’t be far fetched to say the depth of Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus surpassed most because of the desperate, otherwise hopeless condition she had been freed from.
“In every case . . . demon possession is portrayed as an affliction, not a sin, per se. Lawlessness, superstition, and idolatry undoubtedly have a major role in opening a person’s heart of demonic possession, but none of the demonized individuals in the New Testament is explicitly associated with immoral behavior. They are alway portrayed as tormented people, not willful malefactors. They suffered wretched indignities at the hands of evil spirits. They were all miserable, sorrowful lonely, heartsick, forlorn, and pitiable creatures. . . victims with utterly ruined lives . . . there was nothing any mere man or woman could do for (them).” John MacArthur
It’s not hard to imagine how being delivered from such a state would create a response of fiery loyalty in the heart of the freed-one.
Mary Magdalene emanated loyal love for Jesus.
Several people had gone to the tomb to find Jesus body was not there, and then left. Shortly after, Jesus appeared first to her. At first she didn’t recognize him. But then the moment he said her name, her heart was set ablaze with wonder (John 20:16) and she grabbed hold of him as if to never let him go.(John 20:17)
In class we talked extensively about demonic activity in scripture and whether or not we see it in our world today. We anticipate seeing more people in bondage because of the blatant immorality, the rampant obsession with the occult, and minds opened to ‘whatever comes in’ from drug-use.
But even though we see the darkness increasing in our world, we can be greatly encouraged by the power of the name of Jesus. He is the Author of life. The One with all authority. The demons didn’t want to come near him, they were so bound to obey Him. And we can rejoice over what He has given those of us who are His disciples; we need not fear!
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:18-20
No, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say the depth of Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus surpassed most. It should be said of all of us who follow Him really. Because our emancipation from sin and death is nothing less than her emancipation from demonic possession: There is only One with the power to set us free. And we are free indeed! John 8:36
May our love and devotion reflect Mary’s as we reflect on the great love that has been lavished upon us by our Mighty King, Jesus who came down to rescue us.