As narrated by Mary Magdalene:
Our eyes have known no rest since the night he was taken from us. Sombre,sick and drained we've been,unable to taste good food,staring into the day wondering if he'd return on the third day as he said.
Reminiscing on his life and times, I beg to remember how we served tables,supplied bread for the journey, sewed quilt,polished sandals and hemmed robes for long journeys we embarked on with the Master. We volunteered to serve him sacrificing family time and giving our all for the master's use.
I remember how in one word, he cast out evil spirits from us delivering us from all our troubles. He taught us to pray in His will,revealing deep truths about His kingdom. We enjoyed reclining at His feet, going on long road crusades,meeting in homes to share fellowship, breaking bread, and all what not.
He taught us love in a manner we never knew-including loving our enemies-;he simplified the gospel and "unclogged" our hearts of old traditions and legalism. It's with him we learned that we are no longer captive but FREE indeed.
I am Mary Magdalene, the one whom he cast out seven demons from and my friends Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's business manager, Susanna and many others decided to minister to him from our own resources ensuring he had a daily supply of food,etc.
I chuckle as I share one of out of the many life changing incidents which make me love and miss Him more. One day,our friend and master honoured an invitation of a Pharisee living with leprosy. While eating,a certain immoral and "bad-reputed" woman came in and walked straight to the master. Many indignant people who knew her lifestyle murmured,snarled at her and looked down at her in utter disgust. But this rather thick skinned woman,obviously unperturbed by the sneers and disgruntled looks, fell at the master's feet while we looked on.
Silence filled the room as she began caressing,kissing and pouring her tears on his feet. In her right hand was a beautiful perfume and with her left hand, she let down her hair breaking the jar containing a sweet smelling perfume on his feet. She extravagantly poured it upon his feet intermittently caressing,tenderly kissing,massaging and wiping his feet with her hair.
She wiped the dust from his feet, unashamed of carrying the master's dust upon her most treasured thing; she soothed and soiled his feet at every moment with her tears longing for his approval over man's. She may have presumed that being around Jesus at such a time could guarantee her salvation hence taking undue advantage,lavishing on him her best gift of love. She preferred to stay at His feet until she won a pat from him.
My heart pumped afraid the master might hush her away for soiling his heel with her tears and greasing his body with some expensive"worldly"perfume and permanently grabbing his legs like she was up to some seductive moves. Rather,the Master watched her intently uttering not a word,but the over-ambitious holier-than-thou Pharisee called him a self acclaimed prophet who entertains devious sinners like this unrepentant immoral, social outcast, notorious, brash,crude(need I reel out more adjectives)...woman. I giggled at his use of adjectives,fixing my gaze upon her every move. I could not judge her since a fortnight ago,our master healed me of several diseases no physician could cure.
Afterwards,the master told a story to the "sanctimonious" Pharisee called Simon. He spoke on a certain lender who had two debtors owing five hundred and fifty denarii respectively but had no means to pay. He waived the debt and let them go then he asked him;
"Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, The one, for whom he forgave and cancelled more. And the master said to him, You have decided correctly."
Then turning to the woman, He said to him, Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but she from the moment I came in has not ceased to kiss My feet tenderly. You did not anoint My head with cheap, ordinary oil, but she has anointed My feet with costly, rare perfume. This day, her sins, many as they are, are forgiven her,because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. And He said to her, Your sins are forgiven young lady. Your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free from all the distress that are experienced as a result of sin."
He forgave her while others grumbled at his authority to forgive sins. He forgave with no ceremonial rites or unnecessary paraphernalia. One word granted the once notorious sinner a place with the Master. He became her Master and friend by one act of genuine undiluted show of brokenness and love for a Master she never knew but only heard of.
Still caught up in those thoughts, I started my trip to the tomb with spices we (Salome, Mary the mother of James and others)had prepared for his body. He-the Master- had promised that on the third day being today,he'd rise again and I curiously want to be the first to touch him.
At wee hours of the morning, dark clouds yet to unveil the dawn, I approached the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the door. Startled I was wondering who would roll off such a big stone knowing that none of the disciples had come here - apparently devastated by his sudden death and perhaps remorseful by their betrayal,snuggled up in one room unable to look anyone(especially we the women who stood by till we got to the foot of Golgotha where he was crucified) in the face. With my heart racing like an oversped car, I tip toed into the tomb and peered in seeing " no dead body",I dashed back to alert the disciples.
It was a mixed feeling of despair and fear while narrating to them how the Master's body had been stolen. Peter and John joined me to the tomb again to confirm my story. We found his linen but the burial napkin used to wrap his head was also missing. At that point John believed the scripture which said; "He must rise again".Then they left me there sobbing and waiting to find my personal friend, Lord and master.
As I looked into the tomb again,I saw two angels sitting at the head and foot of his burial place. And they said to me,"Woman, why are you sobbing? I replied choked with tears, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
As I turned away from them,I was greeted by a man supposing he was the gardener, he asked the same question as the two angels wondering who I was looking for. But this time I confronted him saying; "Sir, if you carried Him away from here, tell me where you have put Him and I will take Him away."
I did not recognise who stood before me, though this "gardener" looked radiant and translated from the man I knew and lived with. Then he called my name, Mary! Recognising his voice, I screamed with joy; "Rabboni"(meaning Master or Teacher) and ran to embrace him. But he said;"Do not cling to Me for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to your brethren and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and YOUR FATHER, and to My God and YOUR GOD."
With endless ever increasing joy,I skipped like a deer eager to break the news to the disciples that I had seen the Lord and how he said these things to me.
Jesus revealed himself first to a once sin-ridden and demonic woman like me, gave me the WORD and the greatest news of all time for all to share for many generations to come. He ascended and gave us all a place with Him- as co-heirs with the Father. He ascended,giving us authority over all things; he ascended handing us the higher life and giving us leeway to the Father. He ascended by the power of His name.
(References: Luke 7,8 and John 20)