Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 2 Mary Magdalene

At the cross, two worlds collided.  Jesus experienced something no man or woman has ever experienced, complete separation from God. Hung as a curse, God sacrificed his only Son as a sin offering once and for all.  The colliding of these two worlds, so spiritually catastrophic, Heaven and Hell at war, the sun ceased to shine as was the Son unable to speak.  What did Yeshua feel and see spiritually while unable to speak in agony, suffocating, cursed for all man kind?  I do not know what he saw spiritually, but I can tell you whom he saw physically.
            Standing at the foot of the cross were four women and one man according to the Gospel of John: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdalene, his mother’s sister, and Mary the wife of Clopas and John the disciple Christ loved.  God placed Mary Magdalene at the cross for a set purpose for all to read and remember.  Jesus saves.
            The enemy has purposefully set forth a plan against this woman that rages even today.  The sad, but true skewed minds of unbelievers, infiltrating the air waves, portraying Mary as the wife or significant partner of Jesus has circulated for centuries.  It seems the enemy is determined to degrade, ruin, slander and rip at part a woman who adored her Savior.  The focus of Mary should represent how Jesus uses, saves and redeems those who seek him. If God wants to use a woman for a specific purpose: anointing his Son before burial (Mary of Bethany), anointing his Son after death (Mary Magdalene), leading a battle again foes and settling disputes (Deborah), saving his people from destruction (Esther) or teaching bible studies (Priscilla), then God can use whom ever he wants to. 
            To distort Mary Magdalene’s story is allowing the devil to win.  If we look at the scriptures, focus on Jesus’ words and actions, then we can delve in to the mind of a sinful, sick woman who was healed by her Savior and determined to follow him not matter where he went, including the grave.  I believe Mary was a courageous and unwavering; a loving woman who was bold enough to support Jesus ministry, stand at the foot of the cross, go against her fellow people, and was anointed by her Savior to “go and tell”.
Jesus saw two worlds that day on the cross.  In Mary, He could see a depraved mind redeemed to a clean mind, a sinful heart now changed to a clean heart and simply put good verses evil.  “What the enemy has tried to destroy, God has turned around to use for good.” (Genesis 50:20). “I will give them beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah 61:3). “I have come so that they may have life and live it to the fullest.” (John 10:10).
The bible says Mary was released of seven demons that had controlled and plagued her life (Luke 8:2).  The bible does not name the demons, but I know she was mentally, psychologically, physically and spiritually unstable.  Some have questioned whether she was a prostitute, but no where in scripture does it say this.  Whether she was promiscuous, diseased, and psychologically unbalanced, the message is Jesus rebuked the demons and she followed Him.  Mary was at the cross when he was crucified; she was at the tomb to anoint him with herbs, she followed him giving everything she had in support of him.  Most importantly, she was the first to see Christ after his resurrection! It was Mary of Bethany to anoint Jesus before his burial and it was a freed woman who saw the resurrected King first!

If Mary had a demonic presence of lust, then she was cured.  If she had a mental disorder, then she was released of bondage.  If Mary was held in bitterness, rejection, self-pity, wickedness, lewd or sexual behavior and if she suffered from hearing voices or some sort of unstable mind, she was set free by the power of Jesus Christ.  If she was diseased ridden, then just as the woman who bled for twelve years felt the power go through her body, so did Mary’s healing.  Christian, you have the same power available to you today.  His breath of life is alive, giving you living water that bubbles up and overflows never to be thirsty again.  “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
Mary’s life is chronicled in the Gospels.  In the Gospel of Luke 8:2-3, she is mentioned as part of the group of women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases who helped to support Jesus and the disciples out of their own means. In Matthew 27:55-61, 28:1-10 Mark 15:40, 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 19:25 and 20:1-18, she is mentioned at the cross witnessing the crucifixion of Christ, then on her way to anoint Jesus with herbs and finally witnessing the resurrected Lord when he calls her by name.  “Mary. Do not hold onto me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:16-17).  Mary was obedient to the Lord, but not believed by her brothers (Mark 16:11, Luke 24:11).  I know how Mary feels. 
In January of 2005, in the middle of a post partum depression, my mind and emotions raging out of control, it was the presence of Christ that saved me.  I had been baptized when I was twelve, believed Jesus died for me, but was not behaving or living the Christian life.  Emotions ranging from overwhelming sadness, to fits of rage to confusing, mindless wandering succumbed by behavior to cutting my hair off, crying throughout the night, not knowing what was wrong with me, and doubting my existence as a mother and wife; Jesus Christ came to a sick woman. Covered in sin, dressed in worldly rags, this Jesus of Nazareth, in all his purity, in all his holiness came to a wretch like me.  In the middle of the night, in the middle of a habitual heartfelt cry to the Lord, I had a vision of Yeshua.  I knew exactly who it was and his exact words to me were, “There is a spiritual warfare between good and evil.” I have never seen him since, but have prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I would.  There was no “light”, no Allah, no Buddha, no other person or religion who cared, loved or wanted me to have  life as Jesus. 
Immediately, I was back in the church, baptized and full of zeal for the house of the Lord.  I told my story to several in the church, but just as Mary of Magdalene, they did not believe. The bible in the Gospel of Luke 24:9-12 reads, “When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb.” Praise God for Peter! I was accepted by one Pastor who prayed with me and taught me the Word for about four years.  Confident I could tell my testimony to another and would be loved with open arms, I repeated my vision of the Lord, but was asked if I was on medication.  Not every one will accept or believe your testimony of the saving power of Christ.  This unbelief did not hold Mary back; she was determined to follow Jesus.  I can relate in many ways to this Mary, but it was her sitting at the tomb after his burial where I imagine myself the most. 
I knew I was saved, I saw his presence, loved the church, but wasn’t accepted, believed and felt rejected.  All the Gospels account for the women, including Mary, who witnessed the burial and the tomb, but the Gospel of Matthew pens, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.” (Matthew 27:61).  I’ve sat in the same spot as Mary, asking, “Where are you?” Looking at the tomb, I as Mary couldn’t understand the turn of events taking place in my life.  I had an amazing, transforming, holy experience in my life, but was not believed.  You may have your own story of how Christ saved you, your testimony of healing, the presence of Christ in your life, but some will not believe.  Do not be discouraged, Mary wasn’t.  “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” (Matthew 28:1) You be first at the tomb, prepared to anoint Him, prepared to follow him and prepared to go and tell!
Mary loved Jesus for the truth, but she was also SET FREE! When you have been set free from bondage, released of the ungodly strongholds and have the knowledge of knowing you are redeemed from the Blood of the Lamb, you are set free.  It was not in Mary’s own strength to heal herself by “positive thoughts”, but the faith and believe in Jesus Christ.  Psalm 40:1-3 represents this well, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”
The Lord released me of anger, jealousy, bitterness, covetness, lustfulness, idolatry, manipulation, confusing thoughts, double-mindedness, worldly thinking and a haughty spirit.  Jesus set me free over a decade of praying, believing in the hope of change through His strength, changing me from glory to glory, praising and glorifying His precious name. 
Mark 7:20, Jesus of Nazareth lists thirteen things in which make a man unclean, “What comes out of a man makes him unclean. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.”
Inspired by the spirit, the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:16-21, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful natures.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witch craft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-21). Are you tried of following the world and its desires which will leave you alone, destitute, hopeless and addicted?  Are you tired of the anger, jealousy, hatred, bitterness, loneliness, stupidity and greed?  I pray you are or the Spirit is leading you to be.  I pray you continually are knocking, seeking and the door is opening for you to receive the blessing, hope, love and faith in Christ Jesus. 
His Spirit is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  His eyes roam this Earth looking for someone to bless for Psalm 11:4-5 says, “He oversees the sons of men; his eyes examine them.  The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.”  Once you have been in darkness and now you have stepped into the light of Christ, as Mary, the spirit wants to give all good things to the Lord.  The flesh will fight! The flesh remembers how the body responds to what it desires and the cravings of the world, Ephesians 2:1-10, but the spirit seeks the Word of the Lord.  Mary followed the Lord, gave him what she had, stood at the crucifixion, was first at the tomb, a changed and redeemed woman. 
Jesus saw this woman while on the cross.  He saw who he was dying for and the healing in which was bought for the price he suffered.  Love Christ for his death for you, love God for his mercy to reveal this glorious plan to you and love Jesus because he loved you first.

Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of God.

Abba Father,
            My heart is overwhelmed within me.  Overwhelmed with the joy of salvation through Jesus Christ, overwhelmed you healed and delivered me from my sins (John 3:5, 16, Romans 10:9).  I pray to be first at the tomb (Psalm 5:3) sitting at your cross, waiting to hear from you, prepared to anoint you with my prayers, hopes, joys, struggles, triumphs and defeats.  I know you have a plan for me; a plan to prosper and not fail, a plan to grow and not wither, a plan to teach and not withhold anything good thing from your kingdom (Jeremiah 1:5, Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 1:1-3).  Strengthen my spirit to follow your voice (Matthew 4:19, John 10:1-10).  Strengthen my heart to forgive and love those you have placed in my life who may not believe me (Matthew 5:43-44, Luke 23:34).  Strengthen me to stand firm in my belief and boast only in the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Galatians 6:14). 
            I thank you for your precious blood on the cross; I thank you for your unfailing love and I thank you for choosing me.  I thank you for seeing something in me no one else can see. You’ve seen what I can be and not what I am today.  Thank you for not seeing the broken, clutter, confused, confound mind and body, but a free spirit who you can use for your glory.   I’ve been set free from __________________ (Galatians 5 or Mark 7:20 lists things that can make a man unclean).  I thank you for seeing beyond the sin, delivering me from death and allowing me to boldly go and tell.  I will spread this precious seed which is still growing throughout the earth (Colossians 1:6).  May I be a woman to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this my spiritual act of worship. I will not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind.  Then I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will for my life (Romans 12:1-2). Since, I have been raised with Christ, I want to set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  I will set my mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2). With regard to my former way of life, help me to put off my old self, which was corrupted by deceitful desires; I am new in the attitude of my mind and will put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-23). May I always be determined to know the power of your resurrection, and give my whole heart to you! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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