“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others.”
Friend to Friend
She was just a normal little girl frolicking about the house, toying with the goats, and sticking her fingers in her mother’s rising dough. After her father died, Mary’s mother tried her best to raise the child on what little her husband had left behind. But when puberty began to bloom, a poisonous weed began to take root in Mary’s mind. With each passing year, her behavior grew more and more erratic.
Often she was seen banging her head against the wall of their modest home, screaming curses to unseen shadows, crawling like an animal through the yard, and cutting her arms with sharp edged stones. Mary’s mother was almost relieved when the deranged young woman ran away to live among the tombs. “Now I won’t have to deal with her craziness,” her mother breathed.
Mary Magdalene was an outcast, demon-possessed lunatic—unwanted, unclean, untouchable, and unapproachable. But all that was about to change.
“Peter,” Jesus spoke as he led the troupe of men toward the cemetery on the fringes of Magdala, “I need to stop by here for a moment.”
“But why?” John questioned. “Do you have a relative’s grave you wish to visit?”
“Not a physically dead relative, my friend, but a spiritually dead sister who needs me.”
With confused looks on their faces, Jesus’ friends knew not to argue with Jesus’ travel plans. It seemed He always had an agenda that they didn’t know about.
As soon as the band of disciples neared the tombs, a half-dressed woman in tattered rags bolted from the brush.
“We know who you are,” the woman hissed. “You are the Son of God. What do you want with us?”
The disciples recoiled at the sight and stench of this mad woman, but Jesus drew near. Certainly this was not the sister he mentioned. With a shout, Jesus directed His words toward the woman, but rebuked the demons within.
“Come out of her!”
The woman fell to the ground in a violent seizure. After a few moments of blood curdling screams and obscene curses, she lay perfectly still.
“Is she dead?” James asked.
“No, my friend,” Jesus replied. “She is actually more alive than she has ever been.
Jesus knelt down beside her, brushed the hair from her eyes and extended his hand. “Mary, Daughter of Abraham, rise to newness of life.”
The disciples stared wide-eyed as Mary stood to her feet and in her right mind. Her crazy countenance was replaced by perfect peace.
“Thank you, thank you,” she cried as tears of freedom and joy coursed down her weathered cheeks.
Jesus turned to walk away to his next assignment, but rather than stand and stare in awe, Mary ran to follow. The disciples waited for Jesus to send her away. They were quite surprised when he did the opposite and motioned for her to come along. From that day on, she would remain among the disciples to do whatever she could to further the ministry of Jesus.
We don’t know much about Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus and her deliverance from demons. I have written a story about what it might have been like before her encounter, but what I want you to savor today is the truth that Jesus made it a point to deliver her—to save her and then to welcome her to be a part of His ministry team.
Now, for what reason do you think He wouldn’t welcome you to do the same?
Dear LORD, thank You for all you did to set women free to play leading roles in Your redemptive story. I pray that I, like Mary Magdalene, will do what I can to further the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Did today’s devotion give you a better idea of what Mary Magdalene’s life may have been like before she met Jesus?
Most likely, you have not been delivered from seven demons like our sister Mary, but if you know Jesus Christ as Savior, you have been delivered from darkness. Look up the following verses and note how you have been delivered from darkness.
1 Peter 2:9
Click over to my Facebook page and tell me one thing that Jesus has delivered you from.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set you Free: A Woman’s Walk in Power and Purpose. We tend to read the gospels through the lens of the 21st century, but when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, and how He broke a cultural rule every time He came in contact with a woman in the New Testament, we begin to understand just how radical His ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours. How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free: A Woman’s Walk in Power and Purpose, is now available on Amazon.com and www.sharonjaynes.com. (Previously titled What God Really Thinks about Women.) By taking an in-depth look at how Jesus crossed cultural boundaries to honor women, you’ll fall in love with Him all over again and have the confidence to walk in the power and purpose God intended. Bible study guide is included.
And wives, in Invite you to check out my app, Praying Wives.