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Mid-Week with Christ
July 22, 2020

Mary of Magdala

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Luke 8:1-3

1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

John 20:11-16

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Prayer for the Day

Almighty God, your servant Mary was among the last to leave your Son's cross and the first to be at His empty tomb. Help us, like her, to shape our lives around the One who has delivered us from the realm of the Evil One, and taken away our sin, even Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

If you ask people what they know about Mary Magdalene, if anything, you might get some surprising answers. They could range from the old school "a prostitute who became a disciple" to the more eclectic and disputed "the unacknowledged wife of Jesus." Some know that her last name was not "Magdalene," while others might be surprised that it likely designated the town from which she came. 

What do the Gospels and the New Testament say about Mary? Luke records that she was a woman out of whom Jesus cast seven demons. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John place her at the cross (Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, John 19:25), and all place her at the empty tomb on the first Easter (Matthew 28:1. Luke 24:10, Mark 16:1, John 20:1). John records Mary as having the first expansive, intimate encounter of the resurrected Lord with a disciple after his resurrection. She is clearly a woman of some importance.

What can we learn from our sister Mary, commissioned to announce Jesus' resurrection to the unbelieving eleven hiding from the authorities? I would urge us to remember Mary by name as a model of discipleship. She sought to be close to Jesus no matter what the circumstances. While Peter denied even knowing the Lord, Mary kept vigil at Golgotha. While others huddled in an upper room in Jerusalem, Mary remembered her Lord's body. She risked an unpleasant encounter with Roman guards, and the difficulty of even entering the grave, to honor it in burial.

And all the while God remembered her. As she looks for her Lord's missing body, Jesus calls her by name: "Mary." In the same way Jesus calls each and every one of us by name. While we might not be as faithful as Mary in remembering him, he remains ever mindful of us. He still calls us each by name, announcing forgiveness and life through his cross. 
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