The Woman Who Hung Around
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. (Joh 20:1-2)
Note the contrast in the attitudes of Mary Magdalene and two of the chief inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, and John. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala and from her trade of harlotry could dress nice and had spending money. She probably had saved a good bit for she was able to buy expensive ointment packaged in an expensive alabaster box. But, she was bankrupt in her soul. She was pretty and poised on the outside but inside, she was ugly in her own sight. Like the prodigal son who came to himself at the pig pen, Mary at last had her meltdown when she confronted Jesus at the Pharisee’s house.
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. (Luk 7:36-38)
Mary Magdalene was the most diligent of all people to cling to Jesus and this devotion continued as she was the first to be at the tomb and lingered after the others were gone on the first day of the week. She was sorely perplexed and did the only thing she knew to do: she ran to find Peter and John. They were instant responders and ran to the tomb to check out her story of the missing body of Jesus. They rushed into the tomb, John making a careful analysis of what he was seeing. The Scripture says of them:
For as yet they knew not (understood not) the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. (Joh 20:9-10)
Here is where the contrast becomes noticeable. After examining the empty tomb, the two leading disciples went back home. They had concluded that, just like Mary had told them, the body of Jesus was missing and they knew nothing more they could do. So, they didn’t hang around. But Mary…hung around. She simply could not bear to leave the tomb. And because she hung around, she positioned herself for all time and eternity to be the first human being to talk with the risen Savior! It was more than simply a womanly nurturing instinct. She was a forgiven harlot, full of gratitude and devotion.
It was her deep sense of gratitude for Jesus’ forgiveness of her sins that held her at the door of the tomb. Her heart of deep devotion was stronger than her understanding. It was like: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1Pe 1:8) But, in Mary’s case, she believed as she went on sorrowing. Joy would reach her in another few minutes, because she hung around. We learn more by reaching into the earlier story of her encounter with Jesus in the Pharisee’s house:
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. (Luk 7:47-50)
Under the Law of Moses, her sins were punishable by death. She believed in the depths of her soul that she was forgiven of her sins and apparently, her guilt was replaced with overwhelming joy! It was not theatrical. It was not a short-lived emotional moment.
As Barbara and I read the Easter accounts of the resurrection again, this story of Mary’s hanging around, lingering at the tomb, just reached out and grabbed me! We had read it many times before, but this was another time. People who linger with God, those who somehow develop a passion for God, get swept into greater things with more abundance than those who are casually interested.
I’m quickly drawn to these words: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psa 91:1-2)
This person does more than tip his hat at God. This person has settled into a “dwelling” relationship with God and knows Him better than those who are content to pass by His house or perhaps stand at the door and chat for five minutes. Mary Magdalene, the forgiven harlot, has a lot to offer those who want to go deeper with God. Copy the lady who was determined to hang around. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 5, 2017 - FRIDAY
A.M. 1Kings 10-11 P.M. Luke 24:1-35
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Song for Today:
For You I Am Praying (1:21) (Jacob Francis)