Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomband saw two angels in white,seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her,“Woman, why are you crying?Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her,“Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,“Rabboni!”(which means “Teacher”).
One of the most mentioned women in the New Testament. She is also the most misunderstood, rumored, and gossiped about woman from the Bible. She has been called a prostitute. She has even been called the mistress or wife of Jesus. Art, books, movies, and plays have only served to perpetuate these erroneous attributes.
So, who is this Mary Magdalene actually?
Mary was one of the most common names in her day, so to distinguish her from the other New Testament women, she is always referred to by the town she grew up: Magdala (“Tower”) Tarichaea (“Salted Fish”). Located on the coast of Galilee, it was once a thriving seafaring and textile town; now it is nonexistent. According to Jewish text, this place did have a seedy reputation, which is possibly one of the aspects that has added to the rumors. This is also one of the reasons scholars believe she was not married as she would have been referred to differently.
Mary was possessed by seven demons. Her torment was probably beyond what we can even imagine, with evil forces battling inside her. She was most likely in great disarray and anguish when she encountered Jesus: hair disheveled, movements beyond control, eyes glaring or afflicted... But this sought-after teacher and Messiah, Jesus, had compassion on her and healed her of this terrible infliction. (Luke 8:1-3; Mark 16:9)
This marked her. It changed her. She had an encounter with Jesus, and she was forever changed. She was grateful, and she showed it with her actions.This is what scholars agree marks Mary the most: Mary was devoted to Jesus.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are beingtransformedinto his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:18
We have this cute young lady who has been living with us for several months. My husband has dubbed her the Energizer Bunny. So it isn’t surprising that in her dialogues and answers she often uses an enthusiastic, snappy, staccato, “yep!”
So guess what I hear coming out of my mouth these days? Yep. Literally. And it’s probably not so cute coming out of an almost 52-year-old.
Then there’s my daughter. Her go-to phrase is, “That is so real.” So lately when I hear a statement that rings especially true, what do you think has been sliding off my tongue like a canoe down a waterfall?
Whether I like it or not, the people I hang around rub off on me. Like when I touched my hubby’s freshly-painted robins-egg blue walls. Marked.
And I am influenced by others’ actions as well. Which got me to thinking… Although who I hang with did not make my initial list for 2018 goals, I decided it was something I needed to add. Who do I want to influence me? Since I want to be like Jesus the most, it struck me that I need to hang around him a little more than I do.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:18
She slammed the SUV door as she plopped down onto the seat, raised her voice to a high pitch, tossed her blonde head forward and screeched, “It’s sooooooo cold outside!!!! I hate Minnesota!!!” Then my daughter returned her voice to normal, sat back in the seat, and asked, “Who am I?”
Everyone in the SUV laughed and looked at me.
Yes. Winter and me. We are not friends. Not since my youth when winter meant snowball fights and snow forts with my brothers, carving snow tunnels with my classmates like voles on caffeine in the shoveled, piled-high snow on the playground and building silly snowmen with my mom outside our farm house.
No. We have long since parted company on good terms. I discovered early that adulting in winter was not nearly as fun. Shoveling off my car every morning to get to work, sometimes even needing a jump-start, or ending up in ditches after skating uncontrollably on icy roads; bundling and unbundling my babies felt like a part-time job, not to mention walking the dogs with numb fingers trying to hold onto leashes while my eyes peak above my scarf hive, watering in the frosty winds while trying to avoid slippery patches…
But, I’m working on it. I’m trying to mend this relationship. I want to live in thankfulness despite of it. And although I will never love winter like I do summer—NEVER—I hope I’m making progress.
We were all in our twenties at one time. That place of struggling to find out who we are and where we fit in the world. McKayla has been a guest writer in the past and we love her honesty. I find that I always learn a thing or two from this spunky young woman. And I'm sure you will too!
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“McKayla, why do you try to produce good fruit?”
“What on good earth are you talking about?” I asked my roommate. She has been someone that has poured a lot of truth, love, and wisdom in my life but with this question out of the blue, I thought maybe a little too much paint from construction next door had seeped through the window and was affecting her brain.
“You heard me; why are you straining to produce good fruit?”
“I honestly have no idea what you are talking about,” I replied.
She began explaining that it was a metaphor from a sermon she heard from one of our favorite God-fearing speakers, Dan Mohler. “God has already defined you as a good tree. All you need to produce good fruit is to remain rooted in him. You are striving and struggling for the by-product when really you need to be striving for intimacy with the Lord, and the good fruit will grow forth naturally.”
Identity is defining ourself in the truth:
-We are not defined by our struggles in the past or in the present or by our sins.
-We are not defined by the devil’s lies.
-We are not defined by the shallow labels that society, family, or anyone around us identifies us by.
-We are identified by the creator. He identifies us as heir to his inheritance. He identifies us as having the authority of heaven on earth. He identifies us as righteous, infinitely loved and forgiven.
Gandhi understands the importance of belief with his quote, “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.”
One day in my journal, I felt the Lord prompting me to understand my beauty and my identity in him and wrote this short poem:
“You are a flower… you are not a rock, a shrub, or a barren seed. You are a flower, so just be. Choose life by knowing your beauty. Choose to live by believing your Kingdom-given identity. When he died on the cross, he gave you all the authority. To radiate true life, overflowing love, and his glory."
When I was going through a dark time, I questioned whether Jesus was real in my life and whether he really loved me and made me righteous. I started to believe the lies that because I was craving sin, that I was sin. With my mindset, my identity was defined by my struggles and my sins; it became a prison and the habits were impossible to break.