Wednesday, August 25, 2010

John 20:10-18

Is your faith in Jesus Christ as simple as was Mary Magdala's? 

Mary, an eyewitness to and a recipient of the miraculous healing of our Lord, selflessly followed Him as He traveled through Judea proclaiming His gospel.  Through her own means, she tended to His needs.  In the quiet twilight hours of evening, she sat at His feet like a child as Jesus taught His disciples.  Mary absorbed His words and adored being in His presence.  By her actions, she was a disciple in her own right.

When Jesus was crucified, Mary followed His steps to the cross, remaining there until His precious body was taken down.  Trailing after Joseph and Nicodemus, she watched as they prepared His battered, broken, and pierced body with myrrh, aloes, and spices, and wrapped it in a burial cloth.  As they laid His body in the tomb and rolled the massive stone across the entrance, the apparent finality of her walk with her Lord brought unimaginable grief.  So great was her sorrow that she returned to the tomb on the third day to demonstrate her tremendous respect for the man who had freed her from her terrible burden.  Jesus had treated her with dignity in a culture that demanded otherwise, and she honored Him for that.  And for her childlike devotion, Mary was rewarded by being the first to see our risen Lord.

Mary's faith was not complicated.  Doctrine held less importance than simply walking with Jesus.  She had a willingness to believe in Him.  She faithfully obeyed the words Jesus spoke.  Mary had an eagerness to serve Him, even to His death.  Her joy was in merely being in His presence; so much so that she waited until He breathed His last upon the cross.  The loyalty and love she conveyed upon Him drove her twice to the tomb where His body lay.  Just by being there, she found comfort.  It is no wonder that when He appeared to her, she wanted to cling tightly to Him.  Mary realized with ecstatic joy that her Lord and Savior lived and obediently rushed to tell the others the astounding news. 

We should all desire the simple, childlike faith Mary had for Jesus Christ.  She is an example of gratitude for all that He did for her.  Not just in the miraculous way He healed her of seven demons, but for the fulfillment of the promise He had made to redeem her and all mankind.  Her faith was as simple as being the recipient of His grace and believing He would accomplish all He set out to do.

The strongest faith is the simplest faith; childlike belief of healing, mercy, and grace.  We must begin there.  And if our faith ever falters, we must return to where it began.  As Jesus did for Mary, He will do for us.  If we find ourselves sitting before His tomb and grieving for what we think we have lost, He will again appear and renew us.  With the simple faith of Mary, we will then be strengthened so that we can rush to tell others that our Lord, our God, is risen - just as He said He would.

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