I AM MARY MAGDALINE AND THIS IS MY STORY (JOHN 20:10-18)
My identty and name may baffle you. To put your mind at ease, do not compare me to any other Mary. They had their place in Jesus’ life and I had mine. All of us had noble roles and many of us were delivered out of dreadful bondages. Each one has her own story and please let me tell you mine. I am Mary of Magdala, a Gentile community. I was also known as the woman from Magdala; hence, they called me Mary Magdalene. Magdala was not exactly a place with a good reputation. We had a lot of licentious weirdoes in our town. I was exceptionally attractive and it was not easy for me to keep out of the claws of evil men. They did hurt me. It got so bad that these sinful people were glad to see me leave town. Their physicians diagnosed me as being incurable and as being dangerous to their citizens. My own family was well to do; but, they could not protect me from their neighbors that were afraid of me. I had become very violent and uncontrollable. I was the woman with the seven demons.
My family heard about a Man in Galilee that could heal people like me. I do not recall how they managed to get me to meet Jesus of Nazareth. I do remember hearing Him say, “Depart from her!” And like magic, my head cleared and I was being shaken seven times. I felt seven forces leave my body. At last, I lay at this Man’s feet exhausted and sapped of all my strength. He stooped and touched me gently and a new source of peace and tranquility filled my life. Instantly, I felt free and renewed. I knew, that I would never allow myself to be separated from Jesus. I was His for life, even if I had merely to take care of His feet. Not much was said between us, if anything; but, His eyes told me that He accepted and welcomed me to follow Him. Strange as it may seem, I became deeply attached to my Benefactor. The feeling was not erotic, but sacrificial. Henceforth, He was my Lord and Master. There were other women, like me, who required deliverance and I could assist Him with my means and personal help. I managed to enlist other women with substance, in order to keep Jesus’ ministry going. I knew these women, prior to my sickness, when we would often travel to Jerusalem. My recovery, at the hands of Jesus, helped to convince them that He was the Anointed of God. We cared for the physical needs of Jesus and His followers. We promised each other that we would stand by Jesus no mater what, and we did follow Him to the very end.
Before I go ahead of myself, let me tell you that the road I had chosen was not at all easy. It was difficult to prove that I had changed and it was even more difficult for Jesus to have me along. I do not know how “the better than me” people got the idea that I was some notorious courtesan. I was never notorious. I was sick and may have done sick things; but it was not, when I was in my right mind. Jesus understood women, like me, and because of us, He was accused of keeping company with unsavory people. I am thankful that He was a friend of publicans and sinners. It hurt me to see that His own people rejected His help, and they did not believe in Him as God’s chosen Man. Jesus had to spend so much time in isolation, rather than in public. Many came just to find fault and not help. Some were paid to lie about our Lord. He, who, had come to give meaning to the Law was accused of breaking it. He, who, came to turn the Temple back into a place of prayer was charged with destroying it. And, He, who tried to live a godly life and do God’s will was sentenced for being God’s Son. How could I fathom the contradiction of a people that welcomed our Lord as the rightful heir to the throne of David one day and a week later nailed Him to a cross? Our weeping by the roadside, while He was made to carry that ugly cross, did not help. I did follow up the hill, and with tears, in my eyes, watched from a distance what these evil and cruel men were doing to our Lord. They even refused Him a drink and parted His clothes before He died. Their sin was so gross, that even God, the Father, hid His face. But our Lord departed this world with a sense of achievement, “It is finished!”
I could not make myself leave that hill. I was wondering, what we could do with our Lord’s body over the Day of Rest? Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had buried Jesus’ body hastily, in a ready-made grave. Early Sunday morning, my friends and I took spices and hurried to embalm our Lord. We found an empty tomb and two men, in white, telling us that Jesus had risen. We were so overwhelmed, with emotions, that we did not catch what these messengers were saying. Instead, we assumed that some one had moved the body of our Lord. We ran to tell Peter, and the others, that our Lord’s body was missing. Back to the grave I went and wept again; asking, who had removed my Lord and where they had taken Him? A voice asked, why I was crying. I presumed Him to be the caretaker and asked Him, what He had done with my Lord? I begged Him to tell me where He had taken Him, so I could get my Lord’s body. Then that voice called my name, “Mary.” Only one person, in the wold, sounded like that. I replied, “My Teacher,” and tried to throw myself at Him. He raised His hands and said, “Do not touch me. I have not returned to my Father. Tell the others, I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” I went immediately and announced, “I have seen the Lord!” He had revealed Himself to me in person. Yes, I was the first of His followers to see Him alive and the first to spread the Easter Message that we have a Risen Savior. My tears turned into joy and life assumed a new meaning for me. Jesus became our proof that we shall live again with our Lord in eternity.