Lessons from the Life of Mary Magdalene

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Sin had destroyed this woman’s life, but she had an encounter with Someone who took her hand and helped her rise from the ashes.

Our protagonist was a sinful woman who had suffered much; she was possessed by seven demons (Luke 8:2); she was despised by society, but Jesus set her free and her life was changed.

She loved to be at Jesus’ feet

Mary Magdalene was Martha and Lazarus’ sister. Jesus enjoyed being in their home, for He found rest and comfort there. Whenever He was present, Mary was found beside Him listening to His words.

On one occasion, Jesus and Mary’s family were invited to a party at the house of a man named Simon. Jesus had healed this man of a loathsome disease and had also resurrected his guest, Lazarus. At the table, Simon sat on one side of Jesus and Lazarus on the other. Martha served the table and Mary Magdalene, sat nearby, absorbing every word that came from Jesus’ lips.

Imagine yourself at Simon’s house or visiting the home of Lazarus. Where would you sit? Would it be your priority to hear every word of God? We have the privilege of having God’s Word at our fingertips. Let’s make it our priority to absorb every word of Scripture.

She did what she believed to be right, regardless of what others thought

Mary was attentive, her eyes and ears were turned to her Savior. How grateful she was to have been saved! Aware that her Master would soon be killed, she had purchased an expensive perfume to anoint His body. At the party, she heard that Jesus would be crowned king, and she wanted to be the first to honor Him. She poured the ointment on His head and feet and, weeping, began to dry His feet with her hair. Whispers began circulating, and Simon thought to himself that it was a waste to spoil such an expensive perfume. But Mary wanted to give her Lord the best she could offer.

The best we can give God is to pour our whole hearts into His hands. Broken and sinful as they are, our hearts and wills are all we can give, and God accepts our gift. He transforms our hearts, heals, and makes them new. Ignore the whispers, comments, and what others think—surrender.

She didn’t hold a grudge

Simon had damaged Mary’s life by inducing her to sin. Seeing her kissing Jesus’ feet, he thought that if Jesus were a prophet, He would know how unholy that woman was and would not accept her touch. A sinful man, he still thought himself better than she who poured out her soul at the feet of Christ.

But there was a big difference between the two. Simon thought himself righteous and despised the compassion of Jesus. Mary, though forgiven, didn’t feel worthy of Christ’s compassion. Her heart was meek and humble, with no room for resentment, even towards Simon.

Each one of us has received forgiveness and grace beyond measure. Yet, how often we resent other sinners who receive Christ’s compassion. God’s love is enough to redeem every soul, no matter how far they have strayed. Praise the Lord for His unfathomable grace!

Mary didn’t wallow

Mary could have wallowed in self-pity. She certainly went through enough to “earn” becoming bitter. Yet, she grasped the beam of hope extended to her.

Maybe you feel life has only dealt you bitterness, or you’ve done something wrong and feel like forgiveness is unattainable. When you can no longer see a way out or a solution to your problems, know that the same Jesus who forgave Mary and gave her life anew is able to forgive you and transform your life. He says: Trust Me, I will help you!

Will you trust Him?

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