Devotional Week 13, 2018 Monday
Week 13 Monday
March 26, 2018
“I have given you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.”
John 13: 34
“The Man Who Never Leaves Us” Part 4
“Lord, Thou art the living flame, burning ceaselessly with love for us. Enter into me and inflame me with Thy fire so that I might be like Thee.”
John Henry Newman
Is there someone in my life who needs me to love them like Jesus loves me?
“To love another person is to help them love God.”
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.”
I Thessalonians 3: 12
In the garden with Mary Magdalene this week, we have watched as Jesus let Mary know He remembered where she had come from and what she had been through.
Today we will get a small glimpse into something else Jesus remembered about Mary. He never forgot how others had treat her.
In the town where my parents grew up, there was a young man who wandered the streets. I am not certain about all the problems he had but when he grew into adulthood he became a well-known figure around town. As a young girl, I remember walking downtown and watching as people either tossed a few coins his way or tried to avoid him all together. He would shuffle down the block near the post office or city park muttering to himself, a lonely figure who appeared to have no friends or family that cared for him.
As I think back today on this figure making his way around the city, I wonder what it was like for Mary Magdalene. Anyone who was possessed, as the Bible tells us, by “seven demons” would, most likely, have been quite a sight. Who knows how Mary acted but one thing is certain, it would not be what we would call “normal.” And if you were “acting strange,” you can count on the fact that everybody in the town had seen you and was talking about you. The fact that Mary was identified by the town where she came from, Mary of Magdala, leads me to believe she was the “talk of the town.”
Can’t you hear people, “There’s that nut case. Stay away from her. She’s got “devils” in her.” Pretty soon Mary had a reputation. She was known by the weird way she behaved. Then she met Jesus – and everything changed.
Now I cannot prove from the Bible exactly what I am going to say, but it is just a thought I’ve had about Mary Magdalene. If we look at the chronology of the stories that appear in the four gospels, Mary Magdalene’s name comes up at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Right about the time Jesus began to call a group of disciples to His side, we also see that the Bible tells us, women followed, too. In society at that time, it was highly unusual for women to take a role in anything spiritual so I can only imagine how “out of the ordinary” it appeared for Jesus to not only have 12 men with Him, but also a group of women followers. Dr. Luke, one of Jesus’ disciples, tells us in Luke 8 that Jesus went through towns and villages “preaching and bringing the Good News, and the twelve apostles were with Him. And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been expelled; and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager; and Susanna; and many others, who ministered to and provided for Him and them out of their property and personal belongings” (Luke 8: 1-3, Amplified Bible).
You see, Mary is mentioned first, which could easily lead us to believe she was healed first. And I wonder if word of Mary’s healing didn’t get around. People had talked about her when she was out of her mind, just think how they would talk when she was healed. What a story! What a testimony! Mary Magdalene was living proof of Jesus’ power in a life.
Jesus never forgot how people had looked at Mary Magdalene, how they had treated her, and what they had said about her. However, He also never forgot how His’ transforming power had so changed her life that her personal testimony everyday was a reminder to everyone she met that no matter how far down you’ve gone, no matter how deep the pit you are in, Jesus can lift you out and revitalize your life. He’ll turn you into a follower, a disciple, a minister, a living testimony for Him.
Having a former “devil possessed” woman as part of your evangelistic team may have left tongues wagging for a while, that is until everybody saw what Jesus had done for Mary; and then they really started to chatter. “If Jesus can fix that nut-case, I wonder what He can do for me,” they may have thought.
You can count on the fact that a lot of people spoke harshly about Mary when she was out of her mind. Sadly, we do that to people when they are down and out. But not Jesus! He embraces us and accepts us when we hurt the most because He knows that the weaker we are and the more we need His healing power, the louder our testimony for Him will be when His hand touches us. That’s exactly what happened with Mary. Her testimony was all the more stunning when people remembered where she had been and how much Jesus had done for her.
This is something you and I need to remember. When we see those around us who are really “down and out,” before we start gossiping, we need to do what Jesus would do – start by loving. This is why Jesus constantly encourages us to love one another. For who knows, the person we think is the most unlikely to have a testimony for Jesus, may end up being the very person, carrying the greatest news given to this planet, “He is risen.” That’s the message Jesus personally asked Mary Magdalene to share with His disciples. She was the first to tell others because Jesus never forgot the power of a testimony of a changed life!
The next time you think everybody is talking about you, looking funny at you, remembering where you have been – STOP! Remember where Mary Magdalene came from and what people said about her. Remember how far she fell, but most importantly, remember how high Jesus lifted her.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming
and enemy into a friend.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I love you, O God,
All that I am,
all that I do
finds meaning and purpose in you.
Fill me with the full force
of your Love
and its passionate splendour,
so that I might hold
and heal all those who are crying out for love.
Love through me
all the unreconciled
whose homes and hearts
and let them know
I am able to love
because you have first loved me.”
Miriam Therese Winter
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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