Faithlife Sermons

Mary Magdalene--Encountering the God of Surprises

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Have you ever read a story, and then reread it until you know it backwards and forwards—and then you still find something new that was there but you just realized it?
Lets recount the Easter story:
Lets start with John 20:1
John 20:1 NLT
1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
Darkness: the sky was still dark but what else caused darkness since Friday
Peter’s denial
Disciples’ betrayal
Pilate’s cowardice
Christ’s anguish
Satan’s glee
what brought a small ember of light?
Matthew 27:55 NLT
55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.
a group of women which included two Marys—the mother of James and Joseph and Mary Magdalene.
Standing a distance from the cross “watching from a distance”
Why are they there?
To call Jesus’ name?
To be the final voices He hears before He dies
To wipe His beard?
To wipe the crimson from His legs?
To close His eyes?
To touch His face?
So they get up early and go down the path to the tomb
what encounter were they expecting?
An encounter with a corpse.
They didn’t know this was the first Easter
They weren’t hoping to find the tomb vacant.
Not thinking what their response will be when they see Jesus because all of their hopes and dreams had just come tumbling down—they had just seen their Jesus die and be buried
Matthew 27:55–61 NLT
55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee. 57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
No idea the tomb has been vacated.
What fresh insights do you need from God today for a problem you are facing?
In what ways are youf eeling stuck or stagnant in your walk with God? In what areas of your life do you need to encounter “the God of surprises’?
Mary’s tears show she didn’t wake up that Sunday expecting Jesus to be alive.
He had died a shameful death on a cross—but she wasn’t ashamed of Him;
She wasn’t angry with Him;
She didn’t betray Him
Last at the cross/ first at the grave
What attribute does Mary embody? Loyalty
She chose to stand by Him—to the very end!
Shouldn’t we ask God for this type of devotion?
Ask God to help us stand with Him no matter what life throws at us or how hopeless we feel?
Pray that God will resurrect the Easter story to fresh excitement reminding us of HIS devotion
Hebrews 12:22 NLT
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering.

The Woman With Seven Demons

Mary is mentioned at about 12 times in the Gospels—yet we don’t know a lot about her
We know where she was from—Magdala
According to Luke she had been possessed by 7 demons
Luke 8:1–2 NLT
1 Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2 along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons;
We are given a picture of what demon possession looks like and how Jesus cast them out in Scripture. Only this person was not possessed by 7 demons but thousands.
Luke 8:26–27 NLT
26 So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. 27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town.
This took place after Jesus had performed the miracle of calming the raging sea and storm—no they see another terrifying scene.
No one could bind him anymore—the chains had been broken to pieces; no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Constantly screaming night and day
Gashing himself with stones
Mark 5:2–5 NLT
2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
What do you picture when you think of this man?
Wild wiry hair, matted beard, eyes darting everywhere, oozing sores, no clothes or sandals
Luke 8:27 NLT
27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town.
He feels more at home/secure among the dead than the living.
Travelers avoided him Matthew 8:28
Matthew 8:28 ESV
28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.
What do you think life was like for the demoniac?
Read Mark 5:2
Mark 5:2 ESV
2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
Why is the word immediately significant?
What does this say about Jesus and the demonic world?
James 2:19 NLT
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
What happened when people tried to subdue the possessed man?
What does this say about the power of flesh against the spiritual world?
Satan’s Goals
Self imposed pain—the demoniac used rocks. We are more sophisticated now
What do we use?
Drugs, sex, work, violence, food
Obsession with death and darkness—the man lived among the dead. Evil feels at home there. Communing with the deceased, sacrificing the living a morbid fascination with death and dying—not the work of God.
Endless restlessness—he screamed night and day. Satan begets raging frenzy.
Isolation—the man is all alone in his suffering.
1 Peter 5:8 NLT
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
This is the devil’s plan—fellowship foils his work.
But then there is Jesus—Jesus wrecks his work. Jesus steps out of the boat with both pistols Mark 5:8
Mark 5:8 ESV
8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
1 John 3:8 ESV
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
What was the response when Jesus commanded the demons to identify themselves?
Mark 5:9 ESV
9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
Mark 5:9 NLT
9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.”
Legion—Roman military term. A Roman legion involved 6,000 soldiers.
How can we resist the devil?
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One, is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”—C.S. Lewis
Fine line we walk—acknowledging the enemy is real—but we are not to live in worry and angst over him.
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