MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY!
Yes, this remarkable woman of the New Testament has proved quite contrary to the traditional taboos of womanhood. She joined Jesus in the four eras of His life--she was with Him in His public ministry; she went to the cross to agonise with Him in His horrible death; she staggered outside the city to be with Him in the hushed graveyard; and the early morning dark hours found the possibly sleepless Mary in search of the Risen Lord!
Tradition keeps a woman from involving herself in certain, even Bible-permitted, activities. But our beloved New Testament revolutionary sister Mary Magdalene has paved roads for us to walk into the jungles of confused orthodoxy. Praise God, she was blessed of Him and so shall we be if we take this grand trunk road!
Who was this Mary after all? She was not a saint, but a woman possessed with seven demons (perfect possession!) but perfectly delivered by the Lord. Mary belonged to the first century. If she had the courage to break the fetters of superstition, why not we, the women of the 21st century? She was burning with passion for Jesus whom she dearly loved as her Lord, Saviour and Deliverer. The love of Christ constrained her so much that she decided to follow Him till death. Whatever wealth she had was spent for His ministry. Not only that, she also decided to go with Him "through every city and village" (Lk.8:1-3). A woman going after a Carpenter-Preacher, surrounded by robust fisher folk from place to place, would surely have been the topic of gossip. But Mary decided to follow Jesus, come what may! She was sold out for God--person, penny, time, youth, all poured into His treasury. If a woman wants to serve Jesus, can any custom prevent her? If it is thought that women should never go out to witness, surely this Mary was quite contrary.
All hopes evaporated when Jesus was nailed to the cross. The One whom Mary thought would give her life eternal, His life was ebbing away. A blood-curdling sight of the barbarian executioners and the convicts convulsing in their last breath! Women were not expected to be there where even men would faint and fall. But nothing could hold back Mary. She chose to agonise with Jesus. She watched His twitching muscles, His heavy breathing and His painful groans (Matt.27:55,56). Today the Lord is agonising for the lost. Do we share His agony? Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He shed drops of blood, His disciples failed to share His sorrows. He is asking us, "Could you not watch with Me one hour?" Beloved, choose to agonise with Jesus. Be like Mary.
Mary did not stop at Golgotha. Jesus was dead and gone, but not for Mary. Her love was ever growing, never dying. She followed Him to the grave, not in bright daylight, but in the dusky hours of that gloomy day. "Perfect love casts out fear" (1Jn.4:18). What love! The men laid Jesus in a tomb and left. But Mary was there sitting opposite the tomb! (Matt.27:61). How odd it is for a woman to sit in the graveyard at dusk! Yet Mary followed Him to death. Will you? Do you hesitate to be ‘odd’? Do not. We have an example singled out for her exemplary love. Follow Christ to the utmost. "Love is as strong as death" (SS.8:6).
Mary could not wait for the day to break. It was yet dark. Maybe the disciples were asleep. But Mary carefully bundled up the prepared spices and walked out of the city. She must have gone through the city gates. Was she not afraid of the watchmen of the city who "smote the one who went in search of her beloved" (SS.5:7)? No, her love whipped her to the Source of Love. I beg you to read John 20:10,11 and see there Mary the contrary. "The disciples went away, but Mary..." Nothing would make her turn away. She was persistent. She saw the angels and yet "turned around" (Jn.20:14). Was she not spellbound to see the angels? Would it not have been a splendid experience to run and tell the disciples? No, not for Mary Magdalene. She could accept nothing less than the best, her Jesus Himself. She would "take Him" three days after His death! Well rewarded was she by the blessing of Jesus, "Hail Mary!" Oh what love!
Follow, follow, I would follow Jesus,
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on;
Follow, follow, I would follow Jesus,
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on.