An interest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my Lord, shouldst die for me?
[Charles Wesley 1780]
She was freed from seven devils by the power of Jesus, and joined the women who accompanied the disciples, caring for their needs. She was from Magdala, on the Southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee.
She could not comprehend how this Prophet whom the disciples called "The Son of God" would show her such unmerited kindness and mercy. How could she ever repay Him?
She remembered how Simon Peter spoke of a parable that Jesus taught of two debtors, saying, "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" Simon answered Him and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And Jesus said to him, "You have rightly judged."
Jesus spoke this of the women who had anointed His feet with a costly flask of fragrant oil during a dinner in a Pharisee's house. He continued the parable, saying to Simon and the others, "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."
She watched as the Lord and His disciples traveled throughout Galilee and the surrounding area performing miracles and ministering to the masses. She observed firsthand how the crowds grew in anticipation of a conquering King... then as they began to fall away when their expectations didn't materialize.
Who was this Jesus Who had commanded the demons to flee and the Spirit of God to come into her heart?
Mary recalled as He often withdrew privately to pray to His Father. She remembered how He taught with authority and wisdom, confounding the lawyers and Pharisees. He had preached to all who would listen, often late into the day. She and the others frequently heard the parables Jesus shared as He instructed the people in the ways of righteousness and Kingdom living.
Then she relived the horrors of the days leading up to His crucifixion with the criminals. She remembered the humiliation and pain and gore that surrounded His death. Her tears and those of His mother Mary, as well as the other women who witnessed the Roman punishment had been bitter and frequent since that day.
When Joseph of Arimathea and Nichodemus secured His body from Pilate, they took the strips of linen with the spices as was the custom of the Jews to prepare Him for burial. Mary also went with the wife of Clopas (Mary) and Salome the mother of James and John with spices to the tomb to pay homage to the slain Son of God..
On the Sabbath - the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away. She ran and came to Simon Peter and John - crying and pleading with them - asking where her Lord had been taken. They both ran to the tomb. John peered into the tomb first, as Peter went inside and discovered the linen cloths and handkerchief lying on the stone.
Mary remembers the pain in her heart as she longed to see her Savior as she stood outside by the empty tomb. She recalled the encounter with the two heavenly messengers clothed in white as they sat - one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had laid. They asked her why she was weeping, and Mary said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
She heard Jesus say to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" And then she said to Him, supposing Him to be the gardener, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
Mary then grinned as she recalled her response to His reply, "Mary!" with her heartfelt shout of, "Rabboni!".
Yes - Mary's heart was filled with gratitude and amazement as she gazed into heaven while He ascended to His Father. That was a day she would never forget...
What about you? As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday - what is your response to the Lord? What does Easter mean to you personally?