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Aim: Nothing in your past will stop Jesus working through you


  • Mary was a woman who had been possessed by 7 demons - Mary would have been shunned by her community. Jesus could have passed her by - but he didn't - he showed compassion and love and healed Mary. Mary's response was to follow Jesus.
  • Mary was an energetic impulsive, caring woman, she travelled with Jesus, but also contributed to the needs of the group.
  • Mary was present at the crucifixion, and visited the tomb on the Sunday morning to anoint the body.
  • Jesus healed delivered and set Mary free
  • In every glimpse we have of Mary she is acting out of her appreciation of Jesus setting her free.
  • This freedom allows her to stand under Jesus when he is on the cross, when all the disciples except John are in hiding for fear of their lives.
  • Mary's faith is not complicated, she is more eager to believe and obey than to understand and Jesus honours her childlike faith by appearing to her first and entrusting her with the first message of his resurrection.

It has been said by our Christian forefathers that Mary Magdalene could be the same person as the sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and then anointed his feet with perfume. They are probably right, but I would like to make a defence for Mary Magdalene - look at these following scriptures:

  • Matthew 27 v. 56 and 61
  • Mark 15 v. 40-47 and 16 v. 9-11
  • Luke 8 v. 1-3 and 24 v. 10
  • John 20 v. 1and 20 and 20 v 11-18.

In none of these scriptures does it say that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. She could of course be the same woman; we are told that Jesus cast 7 demons from Mary, and Lightfoot, a Christian forefather, says "that one of these demons could have been an amorous spirit", which would lead us to believe that she was a prostitute. But whatever happened in Mary Magdalene's past, after her conversion her devotion to Christ was evident. She came into the circle of believers, marked out from the rest by an exceptional experience of the Lord's healing power, and to the very end she followed Jesus with unwearied devotion, and undaunted courage, even in the face of dangers which broke the courage of the chosen twelve. The action of the women who ministered to Jesus (of whom Mary Magdalene was one in His lifetime on earth and administered the last rites to His body in death) is characteristic of woman at her best.

I would like to bring three points from this story, which are relevant to women today:

  • Jesus relates to women as he created them - as equal reflectors of God's image.
  • Women are vital to Jesus' ministry.
  • Those who are obedient grow in understanding.

Jesus relates to women as he created them

Jesus sees women as they were created - equal reflectors of God's image. God created us in his image - we mirror a family resemblance of Him.

2 Cor.3:18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

This doesn't mean our physical nature but our spiritual and moral nature.

  • We are able to communicate.
  • We are creative, and that gives us joy and satisfaction.
  • We experience emotions and feelings.
  • We know the difference between right and wrong.
  • We are responsible for our actions.

Even though the original relationship between God and man was cut by the fall, God has pursued his children through the ages, sending his son Jesus so that we might be reconciled to God and become his sons and daughters.

His image is reflected in us. Because of Jesus the image is brought back into focus so that his glory shines from the reflection.

As a woman who has had a low self-esteem for many years, a verse that has been very important to me is, "But you O Lord are a shield around me, You bestow Glory on me and lift up my head."

Jesus is in each one of us, you and me, and His glory shines out.

Woman are vital to Jesus' ministry

Mary was part of the circle of believers who travelled with Jesus - she wasn't excluded because she was a woman, and we as women are not excluded from Jesus' ministry.
Jesus has a vital part for us to play; as co-workers in the Kingdom, discipling believers, in evangelism, in serving the local church, in prophesying and in teaching God's Word. Jesus wants each woman to give herself to Him in utter dependence, knowing that without Him we can do nothing. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to fulfil the special ministry He has selected for us, a ministry that is appropriate to our talents. Each woman is hand-picked by God and is indispensable in reaching the fulfilment of that ministry.

If you feel inadequate in the ministry that God has called you to, remember Jesus' words as Paul tells them in 2 Cor.12v.9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Those who are obedient grow in understanding

In every glimpse we have of Mary, we see she is acting out of appreciation for what Jesus had done for her, in setting her free. Mary loved the Lord, and wanted to serve Him, and her obedience flowed from that love.

For us to be obedient we must listen to the word of God, not by just listening and considering what we hear, but by faith in putting it into action, so it is a positive, active response.

Our obedience is doing the will of God from the heart.

Rom.6:17 "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted."

Mary's faith was not complicated, she was more eager to believe and obey than to understand. Sometimes in our lives things happen that we don't understand, and we must stand strong and believe and obey Jesus. Jesus honoured Mary's childlike faith by appearing to her first and entrusting her with the first message of his resurrection.

Mary Magdalene's devoted faithfulness to Jesus and her announcement of Christ's victory over death shouts to women everywhere how an encounter with Jesus changes a life forever. She personifies the many women for whom Jesus has demonstrated his depth of love, mercy and forgiveness.

In Conclusion

Whatever Mary Magdalene's past had been, Jesus healed her and set her free.

There is nothing in your past that will stop you having a personal relationship with Jesus - nothing you have done or had done to you, no illness or handicap. Jesus loves you for you. With Jesus in your life all things are possible. Trust Him - he loves you.

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