The overarching theme is that one so humble as Mary - a prostitute who learns to love Jesus - can be exalted to a major role in the salvation story. There are major problems with this premise, however. For instance, the Bible never says Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. There is a passage in John 8 that tells the famous story of Jesus forgiving an unnamed woman caught in the act of adultery. It should be obvious that adultery and prostitution are not the same thing. Mary Magdelene is named elsewhere in John, but not in that passage.

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They fill a number of gourds with nuts and chain them firmly to a tree. Each has a hole just large enough to allow an unsuspecting monkey to stick his hand inside the hollowed-out gourd. When the hungry animal discovers this hole and the treasure waiting inside, he quickly grabs a handful of nuts. However, the hole is too small for him to withdraw his bulging, clenched fist. The tendency to cling tenaciously to tempting treasure plagues unsuspecting humans and monkeys alike.

The devil traps many Christians by appealing to their natural greed and carnal appetites, which lead to their spiritual downfall. One of my favorite examples is Mary Magdalene. Mary occupied a special place among the followers of Jesus because she demonstrated three traits worthy of merit: a great love, a tenacious loyalty, and a perfect devotion.

Before she met the Savior, however, Mary was living a life that was dirty, broken, and helpless. Like the senseless monkey caught in a trap, her choices held her firmly in bondage to the evil one. The Bible says Jesus delivered Mary from seven demons Luke , and I believe the devil waged a long and fierce struggle to maintain control of her soul. Mary was rescued from bondage because she made a conscious choice to "Let go and let God. The first and greatest commandment is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" Mark Then, secondarily, we are commanded to "love thy neighbour as thyself" verse Jesus also told His followers, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.

It Costs How Much? Similarly, Jesus commended the widow who cast her last two coins into the offering box because she gave everything she had to God Luke It may sound radical or even scary, but to be saved requires a total surrender-a total sacrifice. Mary gave her all to Jesus. She provided for Him not only during His public ministry Luke , but she also gave lavishly when she bought the alabaster box of perfume for His anointing.

Overwhelmed by a fresh appreciation for Jesus and all He had done for her, Mary redirected her attention to finding a worthy gift for the Master. The money she had saved from her former life and from selling her place in Magdala was a substantial sum, yet it was a constant reminder to her of the wages of sin. Mary determined to spend all of her savings, if necessary, to purchase a noble present as an offering to the Lord.

The Lord can fill our vessels only to the extent that we empty them. Is the Lord asking all of us to liquidate percent of our assets and give them as an offering? Not necessarily, but He is asking us to put everything on the altar and then be willing to do whatever He directs. He is asking for a no-strings-attached commitment. But I do it for Jesus for nothing. The world defines success by what kind of car a man drives, what kind of clothes a woman wears, or what kind of house a family owns.

With God, the issue is what kind of woman wears the dress and what kind of family lives in the house. Man looks on the outward appearances, while God looks on the heart 1 Samuel She had been breathless with fear, but now kneeling at His feet, a familiar peace settled over her.

She sensed that she was safe under the everlasting wings of the Almighty. Mary silently prayed that Jesus would approve of her deed of love. What the others thought was of no consequence to her. Jesus did not even flinch. He simply paused in His discourse, smiled to acknowledge to Mary that He was aware of her act of service and sacrifice, then continued His conversation.

Realizing that in her haste she had forgotten to bring a cloth or towel to evenly spread the ointment, Mary removed the shawl covering her head and, without a second thought, released her long, luxuriously rich brown hair from the ties that contained it. Then she began wiping His feet, spreading the oil with her hair.

It is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts. Just before the cross, Jesus was being sealed as our King, Priest, and Sacrifice!

Mary was so absorbed in the joy of serving Jesus that she was oblivious to the stunned reactions of the guests seated around the table. Soon after she broke open the alabaster flask, the room quickly filled with the profusion of a costly, exotic essence. The conversation in the room quieted to a tense murmur. Even the servants froze, not certain as to what they should do about the situation. Mary now felt the piercing stares of all present.

The Hebrew word "mashiyach," which is translated Messiah, and the Greek word "Christos," which is translated Christ, both mean "anointed. Judas kissed His face and then betrayed Him Luke The genuine sacrifice and service of Mary was a stinging rebuke to the selfishness of Judas John It was immediately after his pious statement of concern for the poor that Judas went out and agreed to betray the Savior for the price of a slave.

Judas, pretending to be indignant, protested under his breath-just loud enough for those seated nearby to hear. It is often true that those who look down their noses at "sinners" are, like Judas, doing this as a diversionary tactic lest someone should discover their own sin.

The most critical and judgmental people in the church are usually the ones who are struggling with hidden guilt. A Public Display Mary was not ashamed to make a spectacle of herself in showing her love for Jesus. Too often we are afraid to show our love for Jesus publicly in the workplace or the neighborhood for fear of being ridiculed for our faith.

I have observed people in a public restaurant who wait until they think no one is looking and then quickly bow their heads for three seconds to silently thank God for their food. Because Mary was not afraid to openly demonstrate her loyalty and submission to Jesus, the Lord was likewise willing to defend her in public. With a sad compassion, He said to them: "Why do you trouble the woman?

For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me, you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.

Knowing that the Lord was pleased with her was all she ever wanted. The weeping woman fell again to her knees and resumed kissing His feet. Jesus was very protective of Mary because He understood her heart. Throughout Scripture a woman is a symbol of the church, and flawed and defective though she may appear, Jesus is grieved and angered by those who, like Judas, stand by and accuse the bride of Christ. Love Gives Lavishly I know a fairly prosperous businessman whose son was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Even though the conviction stood, the father never regretted the sacrifice. Why did he do it? Love gives sacrificially. The ultimate illustration of such love is described in John When Naaman the Syrian was healed of leprosy, his first desire was to give something to Elisha the prophet 2 Kings chapter 5. His lavish offering was in proportion to his great gratitude.

Likewise, after Zacchaeus was forgiven by Christ, his next response was to give abundantly to others Luke Mary too felt compelled to give to Jesus because she appreciated how much she had been forgiven. Jesus looked at the woman, then back at Simon. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.


At Jesus' Feet



At Jesus Feet


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