Day 15

Mary Magdalene

Luke 8:1-3, Mark 15:37-47, John 20:1-18, Colossians 1:9-14

BY Erin Davis

As a little girl, bad dreams always drove me to make a beeline for my parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night. I’d wiggle my tiny body in between my mom and dad, and only then would my racing pulse steady. As I listened to the rhythms of my parents’ breathing, or saw the silhouettes of their faces in the moonlight, the memories of my nightmare would begin to fade. They didn’t even have to wake up for me to feel comforted. It was their presence that made the difference.

Mary Magdalene was a woman who sought the presence of Jesus. When Jesus traveled from town to town delivering the good news, Mary traveled with Him. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary stood nearby. After His death, while His disciples scattered and hid, Mary stayed close to her Savior. She watched as Christ’s body was placed in a borrowed tomb.

Though Mary’s conversion is mysterious, we know she knew the sorrows that result from a life lived far from God. And if the nightmares of that previous life came howling, I imagine she found comfort in the nearness of her Savior, even after His death.

On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early,
while it was still dark (John 20:1).

I wonder what Mary experienced after Jesus’s death. Perhaps she tried to sleep but couldn’t. Perhaps images of her bruised and bloodied Healer rushed to the surface every time she closed her eyes. Maybe she’d spent the moonlit hours pacing, trying to shake the hopelessness that wanted to settle into the deepest crevices of her heart. Did she allow herself to think about life without Him and sigh, distraught?

Before the sun even dared to rise, Mary joined Salome and Mary, the mother of James, to anoint Christ’s body with spices (Mark 16:1). She wasn’t in denial about His death; she’d seen His lifeless body tucked into the dark tomb. But she felt compelled to join the other women in this act of care, and so she went to Him again, all the while wondering who would roll away the stone blocking them from His body. When she arrived, what she found was an empty tomb—and there, she met her risen Savior, before turning on her heel and running away to declare to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18).

How does a demon-possessed woman become the first proclaimer of the resurrection? She had been with Jesus. What was true of Mary is true for each of us: we all need the presence of Jesus. In His presence is peace and abundant joy (Psalm 16:11). May we seek and pursue Him as relentlessly as Mary did, confident His nearness will provide the comfort we crave.

Post Comments (41)

41 thoughts on "Mary Magdalene"

  1. Dorothy says:

    Wow Rachiel, I didn’t even think about that but that’s a good point and so true. Everywhere else in the Bible when someone sees an angel it says they are afraid. Thanks for enlightening me and bringing this to the forefront.
    Churchmouse, I want some of that super power and staying power that Mary had. I want to be able to not waiver from God’s side.
    Tori Hughes, there’s another Mary, back then Mary was a popular name.
    Angie, thank you for what you wrote. I love the comparison.
    NanaK., I will be asking myself these questions and praying this prayer now. Thanks.
    Aubri Foster, I too struggle with that.

  2. Tiffany Harkey says:

    I’ve been struggling recently with seeing my place in the church and God’s kingdom as a woman. This reading is helping to give me a clearer answer. An answered prayer.

  3. Aubri Foster says:

    How often is he the first thing I seek in the morning? How often do I look for him, find him, but am blind to his presence … until he calls my name? Love this reminder

  4. Diana Fleenor says:

    As I consider how the seven demons must have tormented Mary, I think about others today who are being tormented in a similar way. Because Jesus was here in the flesh with Mary, she was freed from this horrific oppression by the direct touch of her Lord and Savior.

    But what about today? How are we to respond to those “hard cases” around us? Are we to pray for them and wait from a distance for the Lord to touch them without our presence in their lives?

    When I recall the words of our Lord to the disciples when he saw the harassed and helpless crowds, he told them to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into this harvest.” Then he calls the twelve and “gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction” (Matthew 9:35-10:1).

    How are we to understand, interpret and apply these words to our time and lives? Along with the prayer to plead to the Lord to send out (equipped and empowered) workers, I pray the prayer of Colossians 1:9-14, asking for the church to be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we may be given the spiritual gifts to be present and help those who are suffering in this way greatly!

  5. Dorothy says:

    Wow when I read “…we all need the presence of Jesus.” in today’s devotional, I thought Erin hit the nail on the head. Even in the good times we need Jesus. How many times have I not reached out to God and Jesus first before reaching out to others. Saturday, I met two of my niece’s friends at the old apartment so they could help me with cleaning it. They had been asking what they could do to help and since my sister is very busy and it is hard on my back to do a lot of bending and cleaning at one time I had asked them to help. In two and a half hours they were done with everything (including shampooing the rugs). One of the young ladies was also able to help me get rid of some furniture I needed to get rid of. So I praise God for these wonderful young ladies and there help.
    God and Jesus have allowed me to meet people I would have never have met before in my life. My life has been a whirlwind and I’ve had many up and downs but through it all I have found the one constant I can count on is that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will be by my side, all I have to do is reach out and they will take my hand and walk with me even if no one else can or will.
    Heavenly Father, I thank you for all you have done for me. For being there when I have needed you. You are a good, good Father, Amen.

  6. Dana Spears says:

    “We all need the presence of Jesus.” I’ve been leaning on that more and more lately, after a time when it seemed impossible ❤️

  7. Meredith Ashley says:

    Tori H. – I have the same question! After a little searching, my leaning is to say that this Mary is not the mother of Jesus. But I’m not sure and would love some insights from others!

    Rachiel – I LOVE your observation about Mary Magdalene not being afraid of the angels. How interesting!

    Melissa M. – Praying for your family during this demanding season.

    Thank you all for sharing your reflections this morning. I just love opening my Bible with this community!

  8. Diana Fleenor says:

    PAMELA WILLIAMS: The poem you shared on Friday is beautiful and touched my own heart deeply. I pray it is a comfort to Kristen as well!

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