The movie “Risen” came out this weekend and I was anxious to see it. Some friends and I saw it today and the solider did a fabulous job playing the role. The movie probably depicted an accurate picture of what transpired from the perspective of the Roman leaders. However, there is one glaring story that is not true to the Biblical text and it seems that every Christian movie gets it wrong. It is that of Mary Magdalene. According to the Bible, Mary:
– was a woman healed of 7 demons (Mark 16:1)
– supported Christ’s ministry and traveled with Him (Mark 16:2)
– was at the crucifixion of Christ (Matt. 27:56, John 19:25)
– followed Joseph of Arimethia when he took Christ’s dead body to the tomb (Mark 15:47)
– was one of the first people at the tomb after the Sabbath (Mark 16:1)
– was the first person to see Christ after His resurrection (John 20:1)
– was the first person to tell the disciples that Christ rose from the dead because Jesus instructed her to do so (John 20:18)
The Bible does not tell us whether she was single or widowed. In Middle Eastern culture, it was absolutely unheard of that a young single woman would be in the inner circle of 12 men and traveling with them unless this young girl had no family around. My sanctified guess is she was an older woman who was widowed that was wealthy enough to support Jesus financially, purchase spices to anoint Christ’s dead body and to travel with twelve men.
What amazes me about this woman as I studied her life closer is her love and devotion to Christ. It seemed that she surrendered her time, talents, and treasures to Him for freeing her from seven demons that tormented her. She had a pure love, unwavering devotion, and a deep gratitude to Christ.
And for that, Jesus honored her! She had the privilege to see Him first after His resurrection. He spoke to her first as the resurrected Lord. He gave her a message to give His disciples. Christ seems to single this woman out to honor her and I believe it was because of her utter surrender to Him. What an honor! What a privilege!
So I ask myself…how grateful am I that Christ freed me from the power and penalty of sin? Has my heart over flooded with gratitude that it overflowed into my life, attitude and actions? Do I love Him like Mary loved Him?
Mary was not a prostitute. She was a woman Christ freed from bondage. She was at the end of herself and Christ rescued her. All her resources could not free her from the seven demons and Christ freed her with one touch or maybe one phrase…”Be free!”
Jesus freed me when I was at the end of myself but do I love Him like that? Have a surrendered everything to Him? As I embark on Easter, I’ll be asking myself this very question: How much does my life and my actions show my love, surrender and devotion to Christ?
Lord, that I would love you, surrender to You and devote my life to you like this remarkable woman: Mary of Magdala!