Summary: A combination Mother's Day message with Mary Magdalene's response to the risen Christ.
John 10:10-18 – A Woman’s Devotion
Being at church every time the doors open. TV Bingo. Facebook or online gaming. Gentlemen… start your engines. Let’s get ready to rumble. Oh, the good old hockey game. Sa-wing, batter batter batter, sa-wing. Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, Oprah, Ellen, or Jerry Springer. What do all these have in common? They are all things that people find themselves devoted to. There are all kinds of words we use to describe “devotion”: enthusiastic, dedicated, fanatical, loyal, committed, supportive… even affectionate, loving, or dutiful. You’ll find sports fanatics, devoted to their team. You’ll find TV watchers, devoted to their shows. You’ll find staunch political pundits, devoted to their electoral party. The world offers as many things we could devote our lives to, as there are people in the world. Today we continue our series called I Serve a Risen Saviour: Lessons from John 20-21, we come to a lady who was devoted, completely, 100% to her Master, Jesus. The woman is Mary Magdalene, and she got the privilege to be the 1st person to see Jesus on Resurrection Day. Let’s read John 20:10-18.
We don’t know as much about Mary Magdalene as some would say we do. Back a few years ago, she was the middle of a conspiracy theory that stated that she and Jesus got married, had children, and the Catholic Church has been covering it up ever since. That was the gist of The Da Vinci Code, an interesting but purely fictional read. Over the years, people have connected her to a sinful woman, perhaps a prostitute, but the Bible doesn’t say that either. The Bible says she was from a town called Magdala in Galilee, and she was set free by Jesus from demons.
Now some of you just tuned me out because I said the word “demons”. You say that demons were the old superstitious way of explaining mental illnesses, but now in the realm of science, there are better, more rational ways, to explain sickness. Well, I see where you’re coming from, but hear me out. Most everybody believes in God, right. Not absolutely everybody, but most would believe in some sort of spirit being, and most would call him God. And further, most would call this God good. He loves us, He takes care of us, He watches over us, and the dead go to be with Him in heaven. Most listening to my voice would believe this much.
So there’s a good spirit called God who loves us. So, why is there so much evil in the world, then? Who’s at fault for that? Most of the same people who believe that God is good would also believe that people are basically good, too. So, if God is good, and people are good, generally, where does evil come from? Why do people do horrible things? How could there be Osama Bin Laden’s, and Adolf Hitler’s, Josef Mengeles’, and Pol Pot’s? Why is it such a stretch to believe that if there is a good spirit called God, why wouldn’t there be an opposite, a bad spirit, a spirit who is the other extreme of God, who hates instead of loves, who hurts instead of heals, who destroys instead of fixes…? Myself, I don’t see how a person who believes in God couldn’t believe in a devil. But anyway…
Mary Magdalene was devoted to Jesus for what He had done for her. She stuck with Him at the cross, and she watched His body be set in a borrowed grave on Friday afternoon. She and some other ladies went to the grave on Sunday morning, and saw that the stone was rolled away. They fetched the disciples, and Peter and John found the grave empty. Mary was confused about all this, not knowing what had really happened.
So, even though she had doubts, perhaps, and she had fears, certainly, she showed her devotion to her Lord. Now, even though, as far as we know, she was not a mother, today, this being Mother’s Day, we will learn from her devotion. No matter who you are, you can learn from a woman’s devotion. Not devotion to a sport, or a TV show, or a TV personality, but devotion to Jesus. How can we become more devoted to Jesus? Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11 that he wanted his readers to have a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ”. What does that look like?
For Mary Magdalene, devotion looked like 5 things. The 1st was sorrow. She was crying. She didn’t know what had happened to Jesus’ body. She was sad, broken-hearted even. It had been an emotional couple of days. She had watched her Lord suffer and die. She had watched Him get placed in a grave. And now, He was gone. She was crushed.