Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:1-3)
Mary of Magdala is described in the Bible as a woman out of whom Jesus casted seven demons. She is referenced in the Bible more than even the apostles. Mary was a dedicated disciple of Christ, a woman who served God with her substance, and one of the first to see the Risen Savior and proclaim His resurrection to the public. Mary of Magdala was likely a woman of means – but her wealth did not protect her from the torment of demons or the resulting oppression of illness (whether mental or physical); however, Mary’s story changed because of the intervention of Jesus Himself. Mary received healing and deliverance from the hands of the Savior and spent her new life at the feet of the Master. After her healing, Mary spent the remainder of her life in the service of the Lord, from supporting His public ministry with her resources, to sitting to learn from Him, to accompanying Him to the cross, and even visiting His tomb in order to anoint his body and give Him a proper burial. In her service to the Savior, Mary of Magdala was ready to do any and everything.
It could not have been easy to publicly follow Jesus in a town of people that likely knew the “old Mary” – the one that was bound, oppressed, and spiritually sick. I am sure others did not forget Mary’s past even as she continued in her devotion to the Lord. I wonder if Mary was ever hurt by the stares or whispers of the towns people. Or was she singularly focused on her dedication to the Lord, oblivious to who said what about whom?
What about you? Can any part of your story relate to a woman whose new life with Christ speaks of godly devotions but whose past reeks of devilish bondage and demonic oppression? Has Jesus delivered you from anything that has provoked unrestrained devotion to Him in response? To be honest, Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf should motivate each of us to a life of utter devotion and discipleship. But the Lord Himself says that we love little because we were forgiven little [or so we think] (Luke 7:47). If we, like Mary, have an opportunity to see the depths of bondage from which we were delivered and the breadth of freedom we now enjoy, I am convinced we will all love our Savior as extravagantly as Mary did, and like her we will dedicate our entire lives, livelihood, and substance to His ministry and the glory of His name alone.
Take a page from Mary’s book – consider a life of utter devotion to the Lord your reasonable service to the One who conquered sin and death on your behalf.