Mary was delivered from bondage by the One who had power over the Devil.
…and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons… (Lk 8:2)
And Christ is still delivering. I am reminded of my friend Michelle, formerly a strip dancer. Scorned and denigrated, Michelle found her day of deliverance. She is a great worker in the local congregation I attend. I think of Marla, who left the casinos, the addictions of tobacco, and her passion for impure forms of entertainment, to become a devoted wife and mother with a steely determination to go to heaven. I think of Maria, my sister on a South American island, who confessed to me many of the sins listed in I Corinthians six, verses nine and ten, and then dared to ask if she, too, could be delivered as were those Corinthians who were washed, sanctified and justified (I Cor.6:11). And then there is me. Without His saving blood I am just as black as the vilest sinner. I desperately need the One who has power over Satan and death.
Praise God for his delivery from the power of Satan. While we are not possessed by evil spirits today as was Mary, we find ourselves bound by the shackles of Satan and sin until we come in contact with the Great Galilean.
Mary ministered to the Lord.
And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,
among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. Mt. 27:55,56
Matthew 25:37-40 puts me in the picture:
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
It is relevant to notice also that Mary gave of her substance in this ministry:
… and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,
and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. Lk.8:2
For some time, in my daily prayers, I have prayed the following: “O God, I am so thankful for your material blessings in which we bask. We are rich! Help us, Father, to use these blessings for your glory. But if they ever get in our way of serving you faithfully, just please take them away from us. We want to go to heaven!”
It is a prayer that has strengthened my resolve to never let the pursuit of things get in the way of my responsibilities as a keeper at home. It has made decisions about ballgames versus Wednesday night Bible studies seem simple. It has constantly called me to more faithful stewardship. I want to give substantively to the ministry as Mary did.
Mary stayed till the end.
When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. Mt. 27:59-61
I recently had a study with a woman who was contemplating becoming a member of the body of Christ. She was unashamed in asking me just what would be required of her family. “Would we need to be there at every service? My kids have a lot of practices and games and our youngest really has a strict bedtime. The older two have loads of homework. Wednesday nights would be really difficult for us. I just need to know what kind of commitment we would be needing to make.”
I recall an elder in the church in one of the places we lived. Through every sermon, he constantly looked at his watch. He became visibly upset if the service exceeded the hour. I have observed, in some congregations, an exodus of a large number of people after the communion is served, but before the final song and/or prayer.
Somehow, I don’t think Mary was looking at the sundial. I don’t think she was wondering if the commitment from here on out would require more time and money. I don’t think she was thinking about how nice it would be to get home and wash her tired and dirty feet that had climbed the hill to Golgotha. I don’t imagine her thinking about what was for supper or whether there would be time before the Sabbath to go shopping at the market. In short, she was the kind of disciple that willingly stayed till the end. Are you?
Mary kept the law.
And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Lk. 23:55,56
I think it’s worthy of note that Mary was a devout law keeper, especially in view of the fact that chief priests and Pharisees, those who had been so condemning of the Messiah, for His healing on the Sabbath (Lk. 13:14), were now going about the business of meeting with Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, setting a secure watch and sealing the stone to secure the body of the Lord of the Sabbath…all on the Sabbath day! The Lord of the Sabbath was just resting on the Sabbath. He was about to prove once and for all, his lordship over it.
May we delight in His commandments (Ps. 119:35), realizing that his mandates are His mercy, His commandments are His compassion and His will is born of His Wisdom.
(to be continued)
Much of this post taken from “Power Lectures, 2009,” edited by Wade Webster, Southaven, MS; 2009 (article by Cindy Colley)