FIRST TO MARY MAGDALENE
Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
That which we consider to be her ‘last name’ was just the place where she was from. Matthew 15:39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala. For we do not insist that others in the scriptures have a ‘last name.’ It’s just Jeremiah, Isaiah, or David; John, Peter or James. Sometimes we know them by their problems – Simon – the leper; or Rahab – the harlot. And we know this Mary as being from Magdala. So she is Mary Magdalene.
But she is a most unique character, a special believer whom Satan today is still trying to malign. She is one of those females who ministered to the Lord Jesus through his earthly ministry, and does not cease to do so even after his death and resurrection! Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, 2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
And the degree of her love for the Lord was set forth by the degree of her depth of sin, which was forgiven her! Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. (Luke 7:47).
And she, unlike his male disciples, was faithful to be with him at both the cross and the tomb! Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
She is a unique character whom God ordained to live at a unique time, for a unique purpose. For she was the female in the holy trio, ordained to care for the Son of God at this time of his death, burial and resurrection. The thief on the cross was given to him by the Father at the cross to show him the benefit of his sacrificial death. Joseph of Arimathaea was ordained to take care of his body to fulfill the scriptures in his burial. (Isaiah 53:9). And Mary Magdalene was the third of the trio to minister first to him in his resurrection.
A reflection of the Holy Trinity is seen in these three. The Father provided the thief as an encouragement to the Son to show him the benefit of his suffering. And the thief caused the son to reflect that day on being in paradise! But he could not have done so unless the Father had sovereignly revealed His Son to him. Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
Then Joseph of Arimathaea is provided to take care of the Humanity of the eternal Son of God by caring for the body of Jesus. For the Son had faith that his body, which was prepared by God, would be taken care of, not coming in to corruption! Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Then Mary Magdalene, being the very first one to see the Son after his resurrection, is provided by the Holy Spirit as a female to represent the Bride of Christ – the Church! Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Therefore the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are reflected in the death, burial and resurrection, by the Thief on the cross, Joseph of Arimathaea and Mary Magdalene! – Three different groups of threes!
For it was to her that we have his first recorded words after his resurrection. And they reveal the difference in him now that redemption is accomplish than he ever was before. John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Before his resurrection he was very visible in the world. But now he would state, the world seeth me no more; (John 14:19). Only believers could have the privilege of his presence. (For a list of these, see 1 Corinthians 15:4-8.) And this instruction given unto Mary personally, (Touch me not), she was also to declare to his disciples! What a horrible offense to His holiness for men today to present him in pictures and in mind in the form of a “do-good hippie!”
For not only does this violate the earliest law concerning the very Person of God, but it also reveals that most of religion, throughout history has not known the resurrected Christ! Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
Yet he is still depicted as a dying man on a Roman cross! – And the horrible reality is, this is done, not just in film, in pictures in churches and homes, and in religious jewelry, but most certainly in the minds of mankind! And this is that which the Lord first instructed this, the last of the holy trio, who had come to find him on that resurrection morning! He was saying, “I’m no longer the same being I was before my completed assignment given me of my Father!” For “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Having finished the work of redemption, he now was awaiting his ascension into glory! John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
“I have gone to the depths of the humiliation which my Father prescribed for me. Now I am given to return to a celestial glory, in which you must now approach me!” Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
So, ‘Don’t touch me’ with that same old familiar attitude, for I am now finished with the earthly mission, from which I never ventured! From henceforth all must call on him as Lord in order to be received by God! Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
And she was to include this in the first evangelistic mission after his resurrection from the dead! We must carefully note that he speaks of his ascension twice in that John 20:17 verse. For she is to know this for her own proper approach to him, as well as tell the disciples that between his resurrection and ascension, he will act quite differently to them, as he is quite different now! Dear Reader, there is no God-accepted approach to the True Savior, except he be approached as Lord!
The Lord had instructed them of this! Luke 22:37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 17:22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
Peter later writes of this. 1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Yet the merchants of our day are still getting rich selling crosses and pictures of Jesus! And this, even though it is the breaking of one of the earliest laws of God! Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:
Christ is not to be presented to the mind through the eye! He is to be presented to the heart by the Holy Spirit! John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
And that gift of faith comes through the ear gate, and not through the eye gate! Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. For it is the Person of the Word alone who grants faith to his elect sinners! And that may be with a human preacher, but it is never without the Holy Spirit! 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
For it is seen in Mary Magdalene’s situation that she only knew the Lord’s identity when he called her name! She knew his name – “My Master” – when he spoke her name! And so it is with every sheep of the Great Shepherd! John 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
For it is He who gives to them their identity! Identifying the sheep is a personal, effectual matter, solely by the Shepherd! Rev. 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
How about it believer? Did the Lord save you, dependent on other believers approval of you? No! Did the Lord grant you that faith? Sure! Then exercise it individually before him! Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Peter’s influence was mighty through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Three thousand became believers. But be careful of him, or anyone else, when his influence is not under the directing hand of the Spirit! For the Lord Jesus had to ‘clip his wings’ about being nosy concerning John’s personal walk with the Lord! John 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
Mary Magdalene remained at that tomb until she found her Master! Everyone else had left. What about you? Will you remain faithful till the end?
Pastor Gene Breed
June 13, 2-15