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Week 4 April 2023, Devotion Part 2

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early… John 20:1

Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary of Magdala. Seven suggests a totality of satanic oppression exercised over every single faculty of her being. Only a radically redemptive love could deliver her from sin’s “utter depravity.” No wonder Mary’s tears mesh with tenacity. Peering once more into the empty tomb, she finds herself spoken to by a sympathetic angel. Turning around in shocked confusion, she thinks she sees the gardener. “Mary,” Jesus says tenderly, and wild with joy she fairly flies at her Rabboni! Gently the Teacher draws back from her embrace and speaks of His ascension. It is the prerequisite to Pentecost, which will make available to every man and woman in Christ the miracle of God’s immediacy and intimacy by means of His Holy Spirit

God had planted Eden’s Garden to grow a joyous community superior even to the perfect eco-system. A sin-ensnared Eve had fled from His voice in naked terror. Eden’s angel had signaled wrathful expulsion from Paradise with his flaming sword. In the garden of Easter, the deadly order was reversed. Mary typifies Eve’s redemption. The first Adam could not help her. The “last Adam” was able and willing. By entrusting Mary Magdalene with a crucial first message for His brothers, He made it clear that the redeemed woman speaks credibly for the Savior, not the serpent. The “brothers” Christ alluded to were the disciples who had deserted Him only days earlier. They needed to know they were still His first love in the human family. In Easter’s Garden of Eden, the fellowship of forgiven men and women took solid root and is flourishing to this day. (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: A Pharisee had invited Jesus to dinner and a prostitute washed His feet with her tears. Simon thought of Him as a loser, unable to spot prophetically that she was a notorious “sinner” (Luke 7:36-50). Interestingly, as Dr. Luke continues, it was “soon afterward” that our Lord began His traveling ministry. “And the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. Mary, who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means” (Luke 8:1-3). The KJV states that “certain” women traveled with the Lord. That rendition poignantly highlights the fact that each one was very sure of her redemption, and happily “owned” the high value Christ’s love placed on her. We can only imagine how healing and nourishing their sisterhood proved to be. During the years of hosting small women’s groups at our mountain cabin, I called it my “Certain Women Ministry.” It was void of formalities, programs or printed matter, just a chance to celebrate a healthy camaraderie to the tune of Matthew 9:12-13, “…Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” John 20:1-31


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