Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me:
~ Psalm 25:4-5a ~

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Mary Magdalene - Diligent Service (Part Two)

Welcome back to our study on Mary Magdalene... we left her as she was coming to the tomb on Sunday morning. She was coming to finish preparing Jesus' body for burial, however, we see that she had a different experience than expected.

We find her in the garden on the first Resurrection Sunday in John 20:1-18.

As the ladies approached and saw the stone moved away from the tomb, they would probably have begun to have apprehensive feelings and worry. Then, once close enough to see inside to an empty grave, emotions would be running very high. Mary Magdalene went running to tell John and Peter. She thought the body had been moved.

Women can tend to overreact! I’m sure she was frantic… how was she going to take care of the Master’s body if she can’t find it? She ran to get help… they all returned to the tomb, where John and Peter also see that the body is missing. The men make their retreat, but Mary Magdalene stays behind in the garden. A weeping Mary looks into the tomb again… and sees the angels.

They ask Mary a question… she answers and starts to walk away – not even waiting for a response, and although she had just seen two angelic beings, she was still weeping over her grief of losing Jesus and His body.

Jesus meets her there, in her place of grief and despair. He asks her (I believe) in a loving way, “Why weepest thou?” It wasn’t that He didn’t already know… perhaps more for her to respond and hear herself as she repeated it back.

Sometimes taking a step back and looking at a situation can help us calm our anxieties and help us to be able to focus on God. This may have given her the little composure she needed to recognize him in the next instant as He said her name. Sometimes our circumstances can become so overwhelming that even when Jesus is ‘standing’ right in front of us we don’t recognize Him. He has to say our name to snap us “out of it.”

He knows our names. We are significant to God and He cares for us. He knows everything about us…

Isaiah 43:1 (KJV) - But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, 
O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not:
 for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 

Matthew 10:29-31 (KJV) - Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? 
and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 

1 Peter 5:7 (KJV) - Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

When He said, “Mary,” it’s all He had to say for her to recognize it was Jesus and then she was very excited to see Him. Just His presence in her life here takes away all her anxiety… she doesn’t start asking what was happening or how this could be, she just wanted to serve Him.

Jesus showed her love and then went on to instruct her in what He needed her to do for Him. He told her to go tell the others that she had seen Him, that He was alive! She obeyed right away and went to the disciples.

Jesus didn’t have to question if she would do what He had asked… and she didn’t question or hesitate to do what He asked.

Mary Magdalene had a servant’s heart dedicated to her Lord, not out of legalistic servitude, but out of devotion from loving the One who freed her from darkness and sin.

Are we dedicated to diligently serving God?
Are we listening for Jesus’ voice and answering when He speaks?
Is our obedience instant and devoted? Or do we linger in doubt and worry?

Mary Magdalene served faithfully even through tough times and was rewarded with seeing the joy that early morning – seeing the risen Savior and being able to get tell others!

Sometimes we need to take a little time to just stop and listen…

Proverbs 8:17 (KJV) - I love them that love me; 
and those that seek me early shall find me.

Challenge: Take a day sometime this week (or month) and get up earlier than normal and spend an early morning with God (or just some time away from everyone). Like Mary at the grave, pour out your heart to God and trust that He does understand. We can give Him our darkness…Whether this weight is our's or another’s, we can give it to God to turn the darkness into light.

Psalm 30:5 (KJV)- For his anger endureth but a moment;
 in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, 
but joy cometh in the morning. 

I hope you glean something from this study on Mary Magdalene, if so, please let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!
~ Amanda

P.S. This devotion was written in 2019 for the April ladies meeting devotion at my church -- amazing how it can be applied so well here a year later during the Covid-19 crisis!

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