When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. (Mark 16: 9)
Life was probably torture for Mary Magdalene before she met Jesus. She had a reputation among the disciples as being the Mary of seven demons. Her demonic affliction probably caused intense suffering for her physically, emotionally, and morally. It is doubtful she had many friends considering her reputation of being possessed by demons.
Life changed when Mary met Jesus and he drove the demons from her. From the time of her deliverance, Mary remained a faithful follower of Jesus. She was one of the women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples.
All four gospels give account of her presence at the cross, outside the tomb where Jesus was laid after his crucifixion, and she was with those who went to anoint his body following the Sabbath. Her love was so great for her Savior that even death could not quench it.
Mary Magdalene was no lukewarm believer. She was sold out to Jesus all the way.
It’s no surprise that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene following his resurrection. The death of Jesus had devastated her. His presence was the comfort she needed in her time of distress.
In the midst of her extreme grief she heard him call out her name. Mary’s faithfulness as a follower of Jesus paid off. She was rewarded by his appearance and the assurance that he was alive.
We can learn a few things from Mary. We learn that deliverance is obtained through Jesus. He is the only one who can deliver us from whatever is keeping us in bondage.
We also learn that being a true follower of Jesus means keeping our focus on him no matter how hopeless things seem. The world is filled with distractions that try to keep us focused on anything and everything but Jesus.
Worldly distractions lead to stress and anxiety. Focusing on Jesus brings us joy and peace. We can trust Jesus to meet all of our needs and comfort us in times of grieving.
This weekend, as we celebrate Easter, we can rejoice knowing Jesus is alive. We can celebrate with the assurance that he is still in the business of transforming lives and casting out the things that hold us captive.