“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 29: 13).
(excerpt from A Mary Like Me)
….Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, was not alone at the crucifixion. Not only was John with her, but other women stood beside her. One of those women was Mary called Magdalene.
I can’t imagine standing at the foot of the cross and watching Jesus die such a gruesome, tortured-filled death. I can’t imagine watching anyone die that way much less the one whom I had believed to be God’s Son, the Messiah, and the Savior of the World. Not only had Jesus demonstrated that He was the Son of God, He had given these people love. Friendship. Relationship. He accepted them for who they were, and in His presence, they were changed, forgiven, loved, and made whole.
He had restored Magdalene’s mind. He gave her life back to her and filled it with purpose. With such wonderful memories coupled yet with fading hope, she stood next to Mary of Nazareth, probably enduring a heart that was breaking.
Mary M. wouldn’t leave Jesus’ side. She intended to do all she could do for Him even after His death. She wouldn’t let Him out of her sight because she had a plan.
Matthew records her actions and explains why she stood at the cross. He writes, Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for His needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons (Matthew 27:55,56).
Magdalene was there to take care of His needs.
….It was her intent to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial with anointing spices (Luke 24:1). But her plan was delayed because it was late in the day, near sunset, the beginning of the Sabbath. According to their Jewish law, they were not allowed to do any work during the twenty-four hours of the Sabbath which lasted from sundown to sundown. This would postpone her appointed duty, so she had to wait until the appropriate time.
When Mary M. arrived at the tomb, she was met with yet another problem that hindered her ability to do the job she longed to do. The tomb was empty. There was no Jesus to anoint.
Immediate fear and panic struck her heart as she ran to Peter and John to tell them the news. The men returned with her, witnessed the vacant tomb. Magdalene’s fearful proclamation became reality when they arrived and observed the same scene she had described. The men carefully inspected the place where Jesus’ body had been laid, then turned to go home, confused and dejected.
There have been many theories suggesting why Jesus appeared to Magdalene first, but the answer is really quite simple. It was not that Jesus loved her more than any of the other disciples. Jesus appeared to Mary M. because she was there. She was the one searching for Him. She was the only one looking. Her desperation for her Savior would not allow her to leave the tombs. She would search for Him to the ends of the earth and carry Him back by herself if she had too. Read John’s words:
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
“Woman,” He said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her (John 20:10-18).
Have you ever discovered that God had another purpose for you than what you intended?
Was His purpose a 1000 times better than you thought it would be?
Some of us are still in the searching mode trying to do what we think is our purpose, but the tomb is empty. There’s nothing for us to do here, at least by our limited vision.
Keep seeking Jesus. Mary M. found her greater purpose because she was looking for Him with great tenacity–she was obsessed. When our obsession is Jesus, that’s a good thing.
[tweetability]Don’t give up.[/tweetability]
He’s risen, and that changes things.
ps. Oh…there is so much more to this story. I love Mary Magdalene. Maybe we will keep on talking about her Monday. I’m not sure how He is leading, but I’m looking forward to spending next week with you. Enjoy celebrating the Resurrection my friends. Because of Jesus’ life, our purposes have eternal meaning.