Post updated April 13, 2022
I’d like to tell you a story about a woman who had an encounter that transformed her life. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala, a small village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Mary suffered from periods of insanity. She was demon-possessed and these evil spirits dominated her for many years. She was not able to get complete control of her mind.
We don’t know the cause of her demon possession but one thing is clear. When Mary Magdalene met Jesus, she received deliverance and total healing. That encounter transformed her life. She regained her mind and from then on became a devout follower of Jesus. She is mentioned fourteen times in the gospels, most often in connection with other women who had also been healed of diseases and evil spirits. She was among a band of women who traveled with Jesus wherever he went. These women supported Jesus and his disciples with their own resources (Luke 8:3)
A Transforming Encounter with Jesus
Her story suggests that she had a very close relationship with Jesus. Mary Magdalene had the gift of sacrifice, courage, and dedication. She was extremely grateful that the Lord delivered her from spiritual bondage and oppression. As such she chose to spend the rest of her life serving Jesus.
As Jesus moved from place to place with His disciples, I imagine Mary Magdalene and the other women taking care of their personal needs such as cooking their meals. Mary Magdalene was present with Jesus as he faced human trials and eventually died on the cross.
She was present along with the other women at the mock trial of Jesus. When the disciples abandoned Jesus because of fear, Mary and the other women stood in the shadows.
She was there.
She was in Pilate’s hall and heard as they planned to shed His blood. She was there when Pontius Pilate pronounced that Jesus was to be crucified even though he had done no wrong. Mary saw as people spat on Jesus and cursed him. She wept as they nailed him to a tree. She was broken-hearted for her Savior. She was there when they crucified her Lord and Savior.
Although Mary could not help Jesus physically, she comforted Jesus with her presence. She did not forget what he did for her and how He saved her. After Jesus’ death, she was there to assist in preparing his body for burial. Perhaps the best part of Mary’s story is that she was there to witness the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Her dedication and faithfulness were rewarded by being the first witness to our Lord’s resurrection. Mary went to the tomb of Jesus very early on the first Easter morning. When she looked into the cave where Jesus’ body had been laid, she found that it was empty. Jesus’ body was not there. Mary wept and rushed to tell Peter and John that Jesus’ body had been taken away.
Peter and John came back with Mary to the tomb. When they realized that Jesus’ body wasn’t there, they left. Mary stayed behind weeping and heartbroken. She missed her Lord.
For Mary, this was very personal.
This was about her Lord and Savior whom she loved to serve. If you know our Lord as Mary knew Him, you will understand her anguish. Two angels appeared to Mary and asked why she was crying. Mary told them she was crying because they had taken her Lord away and she did not know where they laid him.
Then she saw a man that she thought was a gardener. He asked her why she was crying. Mary responded, “If you have taken him, tell me where you have put him and I will go and get him” Then to her great surprise, our Lord called her name in that familiar voice “Mary”. Instantly she recognized it was Jesus. She cried out Rabonni—teacher! She was so excited that she tried to hold him. She was the first person to see the risen Savior. Her persistence and perseverance paid off.
Jesus asked Mary to go and tell his disciples and other followers about His resurrection and that He is ascending to heaven. Mary told them “I have seen the Lord.” Mary was a sick woman who was healed, delivered, redeemed, accepted, and loved by our Lord. She was very grateful and she served the Lord faithfully.
Her gratitude was the motivation for her love and devotion to Jesus.
Just as Jesus loved Mary Magdalene, He loves you and me in the same way. That is why he died on the cross……so that we may have freedom from sin as well as salvation and eternal life if we put our trust in Him.
I imagine if Mary were alive today, she would embrace this song; “Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus I come, Jesus, I come Into thy freedom, gladness, and light, Jesus I come to thee”
Reflect on Your Transforming Encounter with Jesus
- From Mary’s story, we see that an encounter with Jesus not only transforms, it demands a response. What is your response to Jesus?
- What is your motivation for following Jesus?
- What demons or sins has the Lord delivered you from? Is it pride, anger, envy, laziness, spiritual sleepiness, impatience, etc.?
- Are you grateful for your deliverance and does your gratitude motivate you to serve the Lord wherever He may lead? Does it motivate you to praise and worship the Lord or encourage others?
Scripture Reference: Luke 8:1-3, John 20: 1-18