“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed.” John 20:1
I have been a follower of Jesus since I was eight years old. To be honest with you, during this journey of over 50 years there have been times I followed more closely and intimately than other times. I can tell you that during the first portion of this journey my mother took me to church until I graduated from high school. I believe at that time, she thought I needed to pursue Jesus on my own volition.
During this journey of mine, I have read about Mary more than several times. But, as I look at Mary’s story before I wrote this letter, I saw something. Something new, something different, something for you and me. The above verse is just a tiny glimpse of Mary Magdalene’s life. A few questions you may ask:
Was this the same Mary who Jesus drove out seven demons? Or was this the Mary that helped finance Jesus’ ministry in Galilee? Did this Mary stand in the shadows when Jesus was being arrested? Did she witness Jesus being whipped and flesh falling from his back? Was this the Mary that stood at the cross with Jesus’ mother and heard him utter his last words? Was this the Mary who accompanied Jesus’ mother to his tomb to prepare for burial? Was this the Mary that Jesus appeared to while with her friends at the tomb?
In answer to these questions - Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes to the remaining questions. Now to my aha moment. Matthew 28:2-4 reads, “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.” So, Betty, what’s so insightful? The stone was not moved for Jesus to come out rather it was moved so the ladies could look in. If that doesn’t blow your socks off – a few verses later, Jesus appears first to these ladies and gives them an assignment. But, before that, Jesus has the most intimate conversation with Mary. I am not going to tell you what Jesus said to her, but you will need to finish reading Matthew 28:5-10.
Okay and the aha moment – Jesus loves to encourage us on the brink of our illness, He wants to set us free from the imprisonment of our addictions, He wants to bring light in the darkness of our depression and when we feel hopeless and He says to us, “Don’t be afraid” I’m your living God and will stand by you* (my insertion); I do not know the pain that you are experiencing, nor the battle that you are facing – I do know we serve a LIVING God who goes before us, follows after us and uplifts us. Be encouraged loved ones!
Because He Lives,
Betty Alvarez Ham
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