I AM MARY THE HOSTESS (Acts 12: 12; Mark 16:4-7)
I, too, was called Mary. Unlike all the other women who went to meet Jesus, Jesus came to my home. I offered Him my hospitality, my banquet room, my utensils for the Holy Passover Supper. Jesus and His followers ate my bread and drank my wine on His final stay in Jerusalem. If you ever wondered why Jesus loved the Garden of Gethsemane, also known as the Olive Grove? Think of me, the wealthy lady in Jerusalem, who may have made it all possible. In my day, there were no public parks or public Olive Groves.
In case, you wonder how did I get to know all these Galileans? We were in business and bought fish from the fishermen in Capernaum. After my husband passed away, my son John Mark would accompany our servants and he struck a liking with Andrew and John. When Jesus began to minister, Mark went with them a few times to learn more about the Man from Nazareth. He brought back fantastic and unbelievable stories. One, in particular, was that his lunch fed five thousand men. As the rumors about Jesus spread so did my curiosity. Repeatedly, I extended invitations through my son to Andrew and John Zebedee to share my home whenever they had any need while they were in Jerusalem. Jesus, however, preferred a smaller place and befriended a family in Bethany and in Bethpage, a short distance from Jerusalem. But for the Passover, He had to be in Jerusalem and that is when my facilities were ideal for Him and His group. I had a large upper room that was well suited for the occasion.
My son, John Mark, was very much taken by Jesus. He began to follow Him closely for several weeks. I saw remarkable changes and improvements in the lad. It was simply amazing how my young son adopted a new and totally different attitude and life style for boys his age. His interests were out of this world and his manners became impeccable. He treated everyone with such dignity and respect that it was admirable and desirable. And he did his chores in a way that boosted our business. My son made Jesus appeal very attractive. I, too, wanted to meet Jesus, but I was denied that privilege. I only saw Him from a distance. Women were not allowed to sit with men at the Passover. But I am thankful, that He did grace my home with His presence, while He celebrated His Last Supper with His followers. I regret that Judas used my home and my garden to betray the One whom my son regarded as the greatest Man that ever lived.
These were very busy days for young John Mark. The very night that Jesus was betrayed; he, too, lurked in the shadows and watched. He, too, would have been arrested had he not slipped out of his night robe and escaped naked. He led Peter into the courtyard of the High Priest and gathered the scattered disciples into my home. My son was well acquainted with our Jewish and Roman authorities. He could go where others could not and witness the proceedings against Jesus. What he saw made his stomach turn and his heart go out for his Friend. He would, one day, write a brief account on Jesus that would become a guide for writers and non-writers alike. In fact, Mark would write the first complete and concise record of Jesus. Before all that was to happen, we had to live down what had been done to Jesus. For three days and nights, we went through a time of confusion and sadness. During this time, my son was strangely absent. It did not occur to me, that he had taken Jesus on the resurrection literally. When the women reported that a young man in white told them that Jesus had risen, I knew that my son had held a vigil at the tomb of Jesus and that he actually was the first to witness the Resurrection of our Lord.
The news that Jesus was alive increased the coming and going at my home. First, there was fear that Jesus’ followers would also become wanted. But on the day, Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to Mary Magdalene and in the evening to ten of His followers, who stayed in my home. A week later, Jesus appeared again for the sake of Thomas, who was not present the first time. After that, my Galilean friends went home where Jesus met them again. Whatever happened during these forty days, when the Galileans returned to celebrated Pentecost, they became invigorated and brave men. They feared no one, but God. On the day of Pentecost, my house was shaken by a might wind. Jesus’ disciple spoke in strange languages and everyone present understood what they were saying. The shaking and the sound drew people to our place from all directions. Our court and street was quickly filled with thousands of curious spectators. Peter rose up and explained that the phenomenon was the work of the Holy Spirit and that Jesus, the Christ, was behind it. Three thousand repented and asked to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Hereinafter, my home became a meeting place for the followers of Jesus and head quarters for the Church in Jerusalem.
My son, John Mark, became a very close companion of Peter. But, when a new disciple by the name of Paul came to Jerusalem, Mark liked what he was doing and offered to join him on his missionary tour. Paul, being human, made a man blind. To Mark, that was not what Jesus would have done. He disagreed with Paul and returned home. My son felt that it was time to tell what Jesus was like. And Jesus would not inflict any harm, not even on His enemies.