A journey from death to life
A journey from death to life
Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Doxology Hymn no 245: “You have O Lord, most glorious” (Tune 621 – 2 verses)
Call to worship
Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 117)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. (Galatians 1:3-4)
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn no 66: “The glorious gates of righteousness” Tune 385 – 8 verses)
Hymn: “As the deer pants” (Screen)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:1-19
Declaration of pardoning
The one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:37-39)
Hymn: “There is a Redeemer” (Screen)
Offering and Dedication
While the offering is taken up, remaining seated, we sing:
Home no 365: “We give You but your own”
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading Mark 16:1-11
Sermon “A journey from death to life”
We find comfort in knowing a good doctor. We call them family doctors. They know everything about us; and we trust them with our secrets. We trust them with our health. Once we get to know the doctor, we love going back. Our doctor becomes some sort of anchoring point. He is the one who might receive a telephone call in the middle of the night. We do that see them as friends. And when the doctor retires or moves away, or when we move away, we go through the agony of finding a new one.
8 Mary Magdalene – living in a dark world
Was she dumb and deaf? Was she blind? Was she recognizable by her bodily deformity? Did she suffer from mental illness? Did the evil spirits cause her to rant and rave, leaving her with mental disorders? Were there times that she had uncontrolled fits – maybe in public? Did she behave in an antisocial manner? We don’t read about the husband of this Mary, which means that he could have divorced her because or the state she was in.
We don’t know, but these things were common to those riddled by evil spirits. 8 Mary, the woman from Magdalene, had seven evil spirits. She lived in a dark world. She lived on the edge.
But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who grew up in Nazareth, not too far away from Magdala in Galilee, was sent by his Father to destroy the power Satan and the evil spirits under his control. 8 He preached that the Kingdom of God has come.
There was the day in Magdala on which He preached. The sermon was about the Kingdom of God.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.
The evil spirits were no mach for Him. They submitted and were cast out of those who suffered. They even admitted that Jesus came to destroy them.
8 And Jesus healed Mary. She is named with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. From her seven demons had come out (Luke 8:1-2).
8 The new Mary – living under the wings of Life
8 Her life changed. She met new friends: Joanna, the wife of Chuza – Chuza was the person in charge of the finances of Herod; and Susanna, another woman cured and healed by Christ.
8 Together they formed a group who would support the Messiah with their possessions. They were apparently from high social standing, well-off or very industrious.
The Twelve, the Apostles also benefited from this service of love. 8 These women were disciples of Jesus, and followed Him wherever they could.
Their lives changed and more and more did they learn about the Kingdom and about God. As they looked back, the existence in darkness, possessed by the evil spirits, faded on the horizon. The days shone brighter and brighter.
But every now and then, as they were listening to the teachings of their Redeemer, they heard about an immanent catastrophe. We read in Luke 9:22, only a chapter after we meet Mary for the first time:
And he [Jesus] said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22)
8 As the light shone brighter for them each day, the shadow of the cross gradually rose up over the group as they followed the One who healed them. He would eventually die the cruel death on the cross. His death would be the result of the fact that every person is in some way responsible for the cross of Jesus.
8 Mary Magdalene – under the cross
When Jesus was arrested that night in Gethsemane, all his friends left Him. One betrayed Him, the other denied Him. The women were not allowed anywhere near Him.
8 When He carried the cross through the streets of Jerusalem on the way to Golgotha, his followers looked on from afar. As the plan of God’s redemption was unfolding, there was nothing they could do to prevent it from happening.
Overcome by fear and disappointment, they just looked on. Hear the words of Matthew 27:55
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.
Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. (Matthew 27:55-56)
They were there when Jesus was buried. Joseph of Arimathea, the rich man who also had become a disciple of Jesus, took the body of Jesus and put it in a grave and sealed the entrance with a heavy stone. And we read:
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:59-61)
8 Mary Magdalene – the pain of unbelief
The next day was a long day. It was Sabbath, the day of the Passover. On this holy day they devoted themselves to the feast of deliverance out of Egypt. They ate the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread. 8 It was a solemn day and a solemn atmosphere.
8 Most of all, Mary lost her doctor. The man who gave here back her life, the man who healed her from her infirmities is dead. Cruelly they nailed Him to a cross. The man who became a dear friend, the man she and the other supported even with their own possessions, is dead.
Some in Jerusalem celebrated. They were too pleased that this Jesus was out of the way. But Mary’s attention was divided: she could not wait till the sunrise of the Sunday morning. The agony of waiting. Surely, it was a Passover that she will never forget – not because of rejoicing, 8 but because of the great personal loss. On Sunday morning, she would go to take care of the body of this Jesus of Nazareth.
Mary Magdalene – life out of death
She probably didn’t sleep well that Saturday night after the Passover celebration. Her mind was at the grave. She remembered the sight of Joseph as he laid Jesus in the tomb and rolled the stone in front of it.
Early Sunday morning, she and the other women, rushed to the grave. 8 What a disappointment: the body of Jesus was not there. They concluded that He must have been stolen.
Then there was the voice of the angel:
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. (Mark 16:6)
8 They were looking for Jesus of Nazareth. That was their problem! If they knew man whom they served out of gratitude for the new meaning of life given to them, and if they understood that He was not only the son of the carpenter of Nazareth, named Jesus, they would have believed. But they eyes were still shut to the fact that Jesus was also the Christ, the Son of God. And even if they knew it, they didn’t believe it.
They were looking for a dead body; 8 what they should have been looking for, was the risen Christ. Listen again to the teaching of the Christ:
And he [Jesus] said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22)
He has risen! He is not dead. His body may be precious to you, but not a dead body! He has risen! Now they had a task as commanded by the angel: Go, tell the others! Jesus will see them in Galilee – in the region where cast the evil spirits from them. There He would finally show his power over the forces of darkness.
8 Mary Magdalene – from disbelieve the faithfulness
A few things happened then.
· 8 Mary wept: she was so disappointed. Her faith in Jesus was still not the faith she would later have in Him as the Christ. If only she could touch Him for the last time! If only she could her gratitude towards Him by tending to his body in the grave. This privilege was taken from her.
· 8 They fled from the tomb – they were afraid and scared. They trembled and were amazed. They stopped speaking. (Mark 16:8)
· 8 Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, and she clung to Him, never to let go of Him again. This act was more than only reserving the Christ to themselves, 8 it also turned into an act of worship! (Matt 28:9) But Jesus gave her the command to go and tell the others. Their fear was replaced willingness to become witnesses of the resurrection of the Messiah.
· 8 Now they were filled with joy.
· 8 Then there was the haste to get to the others. The importance of telling them the good news.
· Their must have been disappointment with them when the disciples regarded their words as “idle talk” (Luke 24:11). They did not believe the message of the women.
8 Last week we stressed the difference between acknowledging and believing. 8 This week we need to understand the difference between knowing and believing. Or let’s put it better: 8 there is a huge difference between having faith in general and having saving faith. The Larger Catechism says faith is an instrument by which we receive and apply Christ and his righteousness.
Hymn No 223: “This is our glad announcement”
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)