Among the many lessons to be gained through prayerful study there are some that strum
the vibrant strings of the human soul more than others. The following gospel look into the life of Mary Magdalene
gives one superlative example. Her story is viewed by many to represent the summit of human vulnerability
purely academic terms, by observing the lessons drawn from the events of Christ's ministry, especially
those of the closing scenes, we can see their obvious repetition in our day showing the direction of where GOD'S
blessings flow, as well as the dangerous path of sinful tendency. Therefore, it is the purpose of this treatise
to blend the human passions for justice, mercy and love with the academic reality of what transpired in the story of
Mary, and how, in our day, we see their counterparts, both factually and emotionally.
As we begin, let the words of Christ set
the tone as we look at the life of Mary: "Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the
whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." Matt.26:13.
What did Mary do to be so honored by the Savior to share a partnership with the Gospel that is to go to "all
the world for a witness unto all nations?" Let us read the words on the life of Mary, and see how this
affords us an appreciation of Christ's personal commendation of her: an honor given to no other in history.
Mary was introduced to Jesus Christ under the threat of being stoned to death. She did not know that she was being used
as a pawn in Satan's game of destruction to all who stand in his way. In this scene where religious men
determined to swiftly carry out Mary's trial, verdict, and execution, it became instantly obvious
that her death or her deliverance would be dependent on the One who stood at the center of the controversy, not
just over Mary's sin, but of all sin, through all time. This fearful scene pending a grave injustice by
these religious leaders was used by GOD the Father to the blessing of all, but especially to Mary and her family: “The
LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.” Deut.23:5.
family was small. She had a sister named Martha and a brother named Lazarus. Through our Heavenly
Father's guidance Jesus became very close to this family. "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister,
and Lazarus." Jn.11:5. These words declaring Christ's special affection for this family are
not found anywhere else in His relationships. Throughout the short three and a half years of Christ's ministry,
Jesus had special moments of repose in the presence of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. And at the death of
Lazarus is recorded the shortest verse in all of Scripture: "Jesus wept." Jn.11:35.
But in the death of Lazarus
is seen the greatest miracle ever witnessed in the public ministry of Christ to draw people's faith in Him as
the Savior of all men. All who witnessed the constant flow of Christ's magnificent demonstrations
of GOD'S power and love stood in awe with bated breath at what Jesus was about to do as He approached
the sepulchre of Lazarus. Jesus Christ stood before the open tomb, publicly proclaimed the Father's power to raise
Lazarus from the dead at the Command of His Son. Then, "He cried, Lazarus come forth." Jn.11:43.
Walking from the tomb still wrapped in his grave clothes stood the living proof validating Christ's promise
to raise the whole human race at the end of time. Said Christ in solemn assurance, "And this is the will of him that
sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the
last day." Jn.6:40.
Not only was the raising of Lazarus from the grave the Grand Finale of testimony demonstrating to everyone of
Christ's power to save, but his sister, Mary, was likewise delivered from death when Jesus defended her against
a murderous throng of religious zealots unitedly opposed to GOD, and who thirsted to shed the blood of Mary that
they might bring an end to Christ's proclamation, "the kingdom of GOD is at hand." Mk.1:15. The
supreme example of Christ's deliverance, from abusive men, is seen in the life of Mary Magdalene. When
she was brought before Christ by the lawless priests and the onlookers who followed them, “They say unto him,
Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned:
but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down,
and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.”
Christ sent the false accusers away in fear for their
own lives “beginning at the eldest” (Jn.8:9) when He stooped down to write their own stone-able
sins in the sand: sins of conspiring to purposely send a man to entrap Mary into committing adultery with him, seducing
her with a deal she couldn’t refuse (whether of bribery or blackmail). And once engaged in the act the
religious leaders stormed in, hauling Mary off while letting their seducing agent go free. The Law of Moses demanded
for both to be judged, not just the woman (Lev.20:10-14); and yet, only Mary was brought before Jesus. The LORD of Heaven knew
it was all a setup designed to ruin His ministry among the people; and these puppets of the devil (masquerading as the servants
of GOD) were willing to stone Mary to death to accomplish their selfish aims.
"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said
unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote
on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one,
beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When
Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no
man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no
A short time after Mary's deliverance Jesus was formally introduced to Martha, Lazarus—and Mary: "Now
it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into
her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was
cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?
bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled
about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from
her." Lu.10:38-42. When Jesus walked into their home you can imagine the exuberance of Mary seeing the
One who delivered her from her accusers. Although unknown to Mary, Jesus had quietly sent them away, privately disgraced
for their dastardly deed, and fearful for their own lives should their plot be exposed. Now Jesus is standing before
her, in her home, expressing the same compassion, wisdom and power attending His every word. "Never man spake
like this man" was the declaration, even of His enemies (Jn.7:46). The human heart cannot but be touched by
the Perfection of Love regardless of the hardness of people's hearts. The Love of GOD has a gravitational pull
on the human heart that none can deny its existence. Even the atheist knows in his heart of hearts there is a GOD
who longs to dwell therein. The Holy Spirit solely works in this venue. He never yells. It is the
power attending His "still, small voice" that leads the sinner to repentance: the affectionate tugs on
the heaven-born sense of hope and desire that sets the captive free through faith that GOD "will fulfil the desire
of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them." Ps.145:19.
Mary witnessed with her own eyes and heard
with her own ears the perfect wisdom and power of Christ. When He entered cities, and multitudes would come to
Him, afflicted, tormented, desiring of His blessing, Jesus repeatedly stayed up all night and "healed
them all" (Matt.12:15). None who left the presence of Christ could say they were neglected. Mary
saw Christ cast out life-sapping demon-angels from the souls of men, women and children, delivering them from
their mental and physical anguish; and at another time feed thousands of people with a small handful of barley loaves,
that through His blessing multiplied to overflowing abundance to meet the needs of the multitude. All these
events set in motion a level of devotion in Mary that was unsurpassed among all who lived during that exquisite time
when the very presence of "the Creator of heaven and earth," Who became Jesus Christ, walked
all of Christ’s followers, including the apostles themselves, none was more steadfast in their faith in Jesus than
Mary Magdalene. She was the only one who believed the Savior’s words when He said He was going to die (Lu.9:44;
Matt.26:6-13). Even Peter refused the words of Jesus on this (Mk.8:33) in which the LORD had to chide
the Devil for leading Peter to reject the Savior’s own words concerning His crucifixion.
The disciples of Christ were trapped in the popular
views of salvation and prophecy: each of which contradicted the Savior's own words and mission. But there
was nothing in Christ's teaching or methods that stood against a plain "Thus saith the LORD."
Everything Jesus said, without exception, including His celebrated beatitudes from the sermon on the
mount were all extracted from those timeless lessons of faith found in the Old Testament. Christ fulfilled every
obligation of the Old Testament, as He Himself said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:
I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matt.5:17. His every Word gave honor to those timeless lessons
that continue their value to bless and admonish us in our lives today.
Jesus Christ was the human quintessence
of the Ten Commandment Law. His living out the fullness of GOD'S Holy Law in His Life secured the salvation
of man. And yet, religion had become so corrupt by the time Christ came on the scene, the Word of GOD had been
so overruled by the selfish requirements of sinful men: a thousand laws outside of Bible guidelines, the plain "Thus
saith the LORD" had been so trampled under foot by the religious leaders that when Jesus came to share GOD'S
message of the coming kingdom, "all the people was astonished at his doctrine." Mk.11:18. False expectations
ruled the religious world of pharisaical Judaism. Even the disciples were trapped in believing what their
religious upbringing had taught them, even over the very words of their Master.
The 1st Advent of Jesus Christ was met with a
system of religion that guaranteed that few would escape the condemnation of sin. Evidence of this is seen as Jesus,
in a tearful but authoritative voice, gave a scathing rebuke condemning the priests of Judea: "for ye shut
up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to
go in." Matt.23:13. Bible Prophecy declares that when Jesus returns at His 2nd Advent, the same aggressive spirit of defiance to GOD'S
Law and Word will be ruling the professed Christian church, as it is written, "the image of the beast should both
speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." Rev.13:15. The
issue in the end of time is over the worship of man vs. the Worship of GOD: giving allegiance to man's
word and law under the threat of death vs. giving allegiance to GOD'S Word and Law with the promise
of life eternal. The very last temptation to face the human race is human survival. And this will be
the springboard for the fulfillment of the above prophecy and others forecasting infidelity to GOD in the end of time.
The most powerful religion in the world is Christianity. This will never change. Therefore, it is today's
Christianity that will become the final traitor to humanity stated in Bible prophecy. To understand
our future, one need only look at our history. What does our past reveal? History is littered with religious men
in the church disregarding the very Words of Christ, whose disobedience to GOD'S Law has caused incalculable suffering,
wars and ruin throughout modern history. Volumes have been recorded on the atrocities of false Christianity: the Inquisition,
the assassination of kings and dignitaries, the numerous live burnings of human beings. And this abuse, masquerading under
the Christian name, whose unreformed theology continues to rule the religious world today, will only come
to an end when Christ returns, fulfilling His Word and Promise to crush the regime of fictitious piety hiding behind
His Good Name. Daniel the prophet beheld the time when all misleading religions and nations, disobedient
to GOD'S Holy Law "became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away,
that no place was found for them." Dan.2:35.
The words of Jesus are flawless in their clarity: "If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments." Matt.19:17.
For men to deny these words defies all logic, reason, and true love for GOD, and man, for the Ten Commandments are the
only means whereby we are safe in one another's care. It is as a man who walks onto your land clearly marked with
No Trespassing signs; and you greet him as he enters and ask, What part of 'no trespassing' don't you
understand? It is the belligerent nature of men that continues to promote defiance to the clearly marked boundaries
of GOD'S Holy Law. This leads to a hard but factual saying: If Jesus lived today under the doctrines of
Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witness, He would have failed to be the Savior
of the human race, and the extinction of man would have prevailed in the end of time. Religious men today have circumvented
the Holy Law of GOD [just as in the days of Christ (Matt.15:8)], and this will account for the loss of so many that Jesus laid
down His life to redeem, carrying every sin of every man to the grave—for those who would allow Him to—to
be their substitute for sin—to be their resurrection for life. And all who follow the sinful course will never
see the beauty of GOD'S ordained future for the human race: the pinnacle opportunity to see fulfilled the
closing words of childhood fables, And they lived happily ever after. So Jesus appeals to all who believe in
Him and desire to please Him, "If ye love me keep my commandments." Jn.14:15. With our permission, Christ
will live out the wonders of His Law in us, give us of His faith when our faith is low, His wisdom when we are perplexed,
His grace when we are tempted.
But it was Mary's faith in Christ's words, regardless of the popular views that led to the final scene where Jesus
commended her before them all. In the following passages we will now learn the lessons of faith, ignorance and betrayal
that sprang from this closing scene of Christ's ministry, just preceding His Last Supper, arrest and crucifixion.
To understand the complete story we will unite the testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to obtain a full
understanding of Christ's commendation of Mary.
one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat."
"Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box
of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat." "And stood at his feet behind
him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed
his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it,
he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is
that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.
And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence,
and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of
them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said
unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered
into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with
the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My
head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee,
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And
he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who
is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." "Then
saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this
ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but
because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against
the day of my burying hath she kept this." "And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests,
to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought
how he might conveniently betray him." Lu.7:38-50; Matt.26:6,7; Jn.12:1-7; Mk.14:10,11.
It is a sobering example showing just how frail
our human nature is that after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and a joyful feast was provided to the Savior in honor
of His masterpiece of miracles, that this pitiful situation should suddenly appear and overrule
the whole tenor of the gathering. The old historians tell the story of how Simon the Pharisee was the one who originally
led Mary into the sin of adultery when she was a child. It was this sin among others that led to Simon's
leprosy. But the glory of Christ would overrule by healing Simon of the bitter disease caused by his sin,
giving him opportunity to reform his character into the similitude of Christ and receive the peace and joy associated
with that direction for one's life: the life of wise benevolence. And so, when Simon murmured in his heart
against Jesus for allowing this ungodly woman to lavish such affectionate devotion, the LORD did
not humiliate Simon for his role of introducing Mary into the sin of adultery, dishonoring her womanhood, whose sense
of shame and disgrace over time led her into prostitution. Jesus shielded Simon from all humiliation
by telling him a simple story of forgiveness, in which any reasonable man would say amen.
Now in the case Judas Iscariot, he publicly
humiliated Mary before the whole company at Simon's feast. He shamed the actions of Mary as being sinful and wasteful
to proper stewardship for the service of GOD. Even the disciples said amen to Judas in his public humiliation of Mary: "And
they murmured against her." Here was a most profound moment of the Savior's work among sinful men. And
the result led to Christ's betrayal, torture and crucifixion, for Judas had used his high position among the Apostles as
a license for evil. Once again, the Savior was called to deliver Mary from the threat of men. And on this, Christ
stood faithful to the valiant vindication of Mary, even though He knew that to defend Mary,
the outcome would usher Him to the Crucifix. But this is as the Father ordained it to be, and Jesus would
never go against the path marked out by the Father to the blessing of Mary whose honor includes the whole of mankind. Facing
Judas "Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me...She hath done what she
could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying...And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief
priests, to betray him unto them." John 14:6-10.
Public sin demands public repentance. But repentance would never come from Judas. The callous nature of Judas
forbid any humility before the One he called Master. Even when Judas was convicted of his evil deed of betraying Jesus
to the crucifix, his repentance was selfish: out of fear for himself, not for any remorse of personal iniquity.
The feast at the house of Simon the leper should have been one of rejoicing and repose for all who stood in the presence of
the LORD Jesus Christ. But instead, those who should have appreciated the most what Christ had just accomplished,
to the Glory of GOD, abandoned their high calling, and instead used the occasion to murmur and condemn.
And in the case of Judas, what should have drawn from him a spirit of humility that he should be associated with the One on
whom all eyes were fastened, he used the occasion as an opportunity for selfish gain, even at the expense of the One who repeatedly
proved to all that His work was never for the benefit of Himself but only for those within His reach.
With our ability to review this history, a murmuring
tone can rise up in us, due to the question, Why didn't Jesus just refuse to be associated with Judas,
knowing of the betrayal that would result from their association? This leads to an even greater question of Why
did GOD create the angel Lucifer knowing he would pollute his mind with lusts for power, authority and even worship? whose
chosen course to live his life in sin would seduce the human family to join his death-match against GOD and His
Law, causing the life of earth to enter an age of darkness and despair? There is one gift, next to life, that is supreme
in the eyes of GOD: Liberty of Mind to choose! Back in the beginning of the Savior's ministry, Judas Iscariot asked
to join the disciples of Christ (Matt.8:19; Lu.9:57). Jesus did not deny him, knowing fully what was to come.
It is also interesting that Judas was assigned by Jesus to be the treasurer of the ministry, for Jesus well
knew that the greatest sin in the life of Judas was that of stealing and the love of gain, as the Apostle Paul gave summation, "The
love of money is the root of all evil." I Tim.6:10. It was Christ's goal that Judas gain the victory over
this sin. With Christ's personal presence in his life, even to the washing of his feet on the night of
the Last Supper Judas could have proven to be a great and steadfast Apostle among the twelve. But the
situation came when Judas was humiliated before his peers. And this humiliation would be met with a spirit of murderous
retaliation. And in the end, Satan took full control over the life of Judas, and Jesus had no legal right to cast out
the devil simply due to Judas' free will to choose his own path in life. Liberty of conscience must always
be left alone. Said Jesus of the life of Judas, "The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto
that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." Matt.26:24.
There is a moral to this story
that is spurned by men in the pulpit: Male chauvinism played a leading role in the betrayal of Jesus Christ!
Had Jesus rebuked Judas over a man, a certain degree of toleration would have influenced his response. But Jesus
publicly humiliated him over a mere woman. And not just any woman, but a whore in his eyes. Women
were little more than chattel in those days. While Simon the Pharisee and the disciples viewed themselves as being superior
in every way to Mary, even believing she was still living a life of sin, Mary was no longer living the sinful life,
thanks to the deliverance of Christ, even to His casting out of her "seven devils" (Mk.16:9). By
beholding Christ, Mary's view of love transformed from a vulgar use to one of innocence, dedicated
to GOD'S purpose for the fullness of joy found in marital romance and family affection. In this reformation
of Mary's life her strength became unconquerable. These men took it upon themselves to condemn Mary when GOD
had forgiven her. By so doing they committed a great sin against the Ninth Commandment: "Thou
shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Ex.20:16. But the promise of GOD for Mary would not
be overruled, regardless of the oppressive opinions of sinful men: “For as the heaven is high above the earth,
so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath
he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps.103:11,12. This sin needed to be repented of before the GOD of
heaven, and the LORD worked out their repentance as He works to lead all to repentance, through the very methods
demonstrated in the life of Christ.
summation, at Simon's feast, Jesus was forced to choose between one led of GOD and one led of Satan. Nearly
all chose the sinful impulse of self-righteous indignation against Mary, even to the inhumane treatment
of her, tempted by the devil himself. But Mary, once again, saw with her own eyes and heard with her own ears
the power of Christ's love for her, and how none were able to overrule His Word. Jesus shut the mouths condemning the
innocent. In the Great Judgment, this will be the theme as the whole human race stands before the Throne of
Mary's degraded position in life, she alone believed the Savior's words forecasting His coming death
at the hands of sinful men; and, led of GOD'S Holy Spirit, spent an equivalent of a year's wages on that alabaster
box filled with fragrant oil fit for a king. And no scornful ridicule or threatening intimidation from others would
prevent her from carrying out her appointed work, led of GOD, to the blessing of her LORD. Even as the LORD Jesus
was perishing for the sins of the world He could still smell the fragrance that Mary provided to comfort Him: to remind
Him of those who would forever believe on His Word and Sacrifice.
After the resurrection of Jesus, Mary is the first to receive the blessing of the presence and words of the Glorified Christ.
She was the last to leave Him at His burial, and the first to greet Him at His resurrection. Should Christ have been allowed
in His mission to marry and raise a family in this sinful world, the bond between Jesus and Mary Magdalene was
greater than any other relationship of Christ's recorded for us in the Sacred Scriptures. But the demands
of salvation forbid Christ to enter the marriage bond with anyone, due to His Heavenly Marriage as
The Groom to His Bride of Humanity. But also, even from a practical and courteous
level of human relationships, Christ would never have forced on Mary or any other the inevitable separation that would be
demanded when Christ ascended to heaven to be man's High Priest for the intercession of sin; for this is what
salvation is all about, to remove the loneliness and sorrow caused by the separation of family and
friends. The Power of GOD'S Word will restore their presence and companionship—to remain forever—at
peace—to cheer and celebrate that no harm will come to any living thing ever again. Even as they explore the wonders
of heaven, the infinite diversity of Creation will captivate their affections and admiration forever.
And united with them in the Earth made new, to dwell at their side, to see their joy with His own eyes, will be the GOD Who
Lives to Serve—the GOD we call Christ.