The following is an article I wrote earlier this year that was recently published in the April 2017 edition of Pentecostal Herald, a religious publication of the organization with which my husband holds his ministerial license. I have decided to share it as my blog today. I hope reading it proves to be a blessing to you.
Kerri S. Wilson
She watched as the crowd surrounding Him parted, and then she saw Him. Maybe her being there was intentional or perhaps it was happenstance, but somehow, in spite of the power seven demons had over her, she was standing there looking at Jesus.
Her name was Mary, and she was from Magdala. We know her as the woman who had seven demons, but that’s not who she was anymore. She was different; she was delivered; she was free.
She knelt weeping at the foot of His cross, wondering about all that had transpired that day. They had killed Him. Why had they not recognized Him for who He was? How could they have hated Him so vehemently? Her Savior was dead and all hope was lost.
The silence was deafening. In the short amount of time she had known Him He had become her teacher, her guide, and her master. But He was gone, and now she was without purpose and direction. She doubted she would make it with His voice no longer present in her life.
By now they had buried Him. She wanted to be near Him again, so she went to sit outside of His tomb. She felt someone’s presence then turned and saw a man standing alone. She was confused for a moment, but then He said her name—Mary. It was Jesus!
My story isn’t the same as Mary Magdalene’s, but I identify with it. Your story isn’t the same either, but you may identify, too. We identify because what is most personal is most universal.
I’ve never been possessed by seven demons. I’ve never seen Jesus face-to-face. I’ve never felt the impact of watching others kill Jesus. And I’ve never witnessed the resurrection of Jesus.
But I have been bound by depression, hatred, anger, fear, and confusion. As He did with Mary, Jesus introduced Himself to me and then set me free. But unlike Mary, He didn’t deliver me from my oppression in one instantaneous moment. He healed me through my relationship journey with Him. And He is still doing that for me.
Like Mary, I know what it feels like to be in His presence, to tell Him about my troubles, to hear Him speak back to me, and then to feel Him remove the weight of my sins. Like Mary, I’ve been drawn to Him by His acts of love toward me. And, like Mary, His love is why I am an avid follower of and believer in Him.
Though I have never seen others kill my Savior as Mary did, I have heard others curse and deny Him. Though I cannot know the reasons why, I do wonder how they don’t seem to know Him and why they don’t seem to want to know Him. After all Jesus has done for me, I admit it is difficult to understand why so many reject Him. And just as Mary must have felt, when I watch and listen to them my heart breaks, and I feel the hopelessness of what life is like without Jesus.
Though my experience is different, like Mary I have lived through seasons when Jesus seemed silent. And I have felt that lack of purpose and direction that comes when it seems as if He has stopped speaking. When it happens, as it probably felt for Mary, my life feels overwhelmingly lonely.
Like Mary, I know what it feels like to long for His presence and to seek Him so I can be near Him again. As it must have been for Mary, in my moments like this His presence sweeps in like a flood, He shows Himself to me, and I hear Him speak my name. And when He shows up, all of the hopelessness, all of the emptiness, all of the loneliness vanishes. My troubles fade away.
Similar to what Mary must have experienced, I can’t contain myself whenever Jesus reveals Himself at work in my life. I have to run and tell somebody what Jesus has done for me. I have to shout it out that He is really alive! Like Mary, I have to tell others about seeing Jesus.
Though on many points our experiences with Jesus are different than Mary’s, we have all seen Jesus the same way. He introduced Himself to us, took on our sin and died for us, lay buried in a tomb for us, and rose again for us. He refused to save Himself so He could save all of us. The same as He was for Mary, he is our Savior!
At first Mary didn’t see the big picture, though I think she understood later. The same is true for us. We may not see Him for who He really is at first, but He is who He is nevertheless. As we keep looking at Him, He continues to reveal Himself. And as He seemed while hanging and dying on the cross, He can sometimes sound silent. But He is never silent. Over the course of those three quiet days, His voice was louder than it ever was. That is still true today. He is still speaking to us with that same loud voice.
We weren’t there with Mary, and we don’t see Him as Mary did. But we still see Jesus. He is standing right in front of us.