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, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Luke 8:1-3 (ESV)
I am not a fan of scary anything. I don’t like scary movies. I don’t like scary books. I’ve never read or watched anything Stephen King and could barely make it through an episode of Murder, She Wrote. Ok, maybe that’s not necessarily true, I mean after all Angela Lansbury did make a bed fly in Bedknobs and Broomsticks – and THAT was pretty cool! I guess I’m just not entertained by things that make my heart race at 250 mph.
I think part of the reason I don’t like that stuff is that it’s too close to what’s real. Very real. Maybe not the way we portray it in films and books, but scripture is clear that there is a battle being waged.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6 :12
In Luke 8, we read that Jesus had been traveling with his disciples from town to town “proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God…” Luke also tells us that among the twelve disciples there were some women; “who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses.”
One of these women was Mary called Magdalene –
from whom SEVEN DEMONS HAD GONE OUT!
Can you imagine that kind of life? When you look up the word “demons” in its original language it means an EVIL spirit. A being inferior to God, superior to men. Messengers and ministers of the devil.
Mary, this woman traveling with Jesus, had been delivered from many messengers and ministers of the devil. Spiritual forces of evil.
That’s kind of hard to wrap my head around. I have never experienced anything like that. My only true frame of reference is to think about what it looks like to have the Holy Spirit and how He moves in us on God’s behalf – I have seen Him do the best things! So to have the complete antithesis of that, what a terrifying life that must have been. No thoughts of your own – and the thoughts you do have, certainly would not be GOOD thoughts. She was a prisoner to every whim of evil.
Then along comes Jesus.
He wasn’t on His white horse yet but oh I bet in her mind He was! One moment, seven demons were in her, and the next, 7 demons were out of her! That kind of rescue, from a black hole of hopelessness into wholeness and restoration…can do nothing less than transform a person!
Can you imagine the incredible gratitude that must have filled her?
From my observations, this healing happened early in Jesus’ ministry and we learn from the accounts of His crucifixion that she was one of a few women who remained with him and attended to his needs to the end of his ministry.
If she was with Jesus all that time can you imagine the things she must have seen and heard? What if she witnessed the man from the region of the Gerasenes get delivered from a legion of demons? Did a shout of victory come out of her mouth as she watched those pigs go off the cliff!? Was she there when he healed the woman with bleeding? Did she witness when he fed 5,000 plus, with five loaves and two fish? Scripture isn’t clear on that but we do know with certainty that she wasn’t one to leave him. Every account of the crucifixion tells us Mary was there. Jesus was there for her in her darkest hours and she was there for him. At times; watching from a distance, at times near the cross, but Mary did not leave her Savior.
That day, she felt the darkness come over the land from noon until three. She heard Jesus cry out and give up His Spirit. She felt the earth shake and the rocks split. And if it made a sound she heard that curtain in the temple R I P right in two…from top to bottom.
She saw Him crush the head of that devil who had once filled her body and mind with EVERY intent of evil and she heard Jesus say; “It is finished.”
But He wasn’t done.
Three days later when she runs to tend to his lifeless body – He isn’t where they laid Him.
Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen.
At that moment he had set her free. A freedom that paled in comparison to the freedom she once had from those demons. Standing by an empty tomb came the filling of an eternal hope and in forty days would come a filling of the Holy Spirit. A Spirit who would move in men more mightily than any demon ever moved her.
And one day He will come again.
She, along with us, will see our Savior finally riding on that white horse – coming to take us to a place He has been preparing;
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called the Word of God. …and He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Oh yes, Beloved, and on that day – we will see Him too! Because Mary’s deliverance is ours. Mary’s hope is ours. Broken, Rescued and Delivered. That’s Mary’s story and that’s our story.
And that is good news.
Heavenly Father, Sometimes I don’t think I grasp the depth of your power. I see things in this world that make my heart race… but YOU are the only one with the power to make my heart race for any REAL reason. You are all powerful and you can deliver us with a word. Thank you for Jesus’ life and His death. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring the cross- you say it was for the joy set before you and I know now that we were that joy. I bet your heart almost exploded when you delivered Mary from Satan’s grasp and I know it did when Jesus delivered us all. Thank you for tearing the veil in two. Thank you for mending our broken relationship, even though we were the ones who did the damage. You are so good. Your love endures forever and we love you, Father. Because of Jesus, we know you, because of Jesus we can pray to you now and that is the best gift of all. In Jesus name! Amen.
Forty days after his resurrection Jesus told his disciples – you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and all the earth, then He ascended to His Father. What do you think happened to Mary Magdalene after that? I bet that her changed life story became the talk of the town. I bet she had the opportunity to tell thousands of people about what she witnessed at that tomb. If she lived today she would sell out venues all around the world telling her story.
You may not have seen the empty tomb, but you are called to be a witness too. A witness to what Jesus has done in your life, to what he has rescued you from and delivered you to. So what are you waiting for, you live at the ends of the earth…be His witness and go and make disciples – because after all, Mary’s story is your story too.
Today’s post was written by Nora Elkins.
Nora is married 31 years to her first love, Scott. They have raised four children into adulthood and are now enjoying the reward of professional grandparenting. Nora can be found living the real-life version of “Fuller House” in her four generation household – where her 96-year-old dad is the favorite playmate of her precious grandkids. She is a “maker” at heart and loves creating personalized gifts – whether it’s for her shop on Etsy or special orders from friends. She also enjoys coloring in her bible and documenting her faith through journaling and bible study. You can find her serving at our Longwood campus where she practices the spiritual gift of warm hugs and happy smiles and if you’re lucky you may even catch her dancing to the music in the parking lot before service.