Hosting His Presence: rediscovering the Bible VI – Mary Magdalene

The latest of Jasmin Zubida Baidoo’s lives of women who figure in the Bible features Mary Magdalene – worldly woman and follower of Christ who stayed constant to Him

Luke 8:1-2   After this, Jesus travelled from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had been cast out …

Also known as Mary of Magdala, Mary Magdalene was one of the earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth. She travelled with Jesus, witnessed His crucifixion and was the first to witness His resurrection.

The early church downplayed her importance by portraying her as a harlot and even suggesting a romantic relationship with Jesus. However, her significance is evident, as she is named in all four Gospels.

In our opening verse, Luke mentions that Mary Magdalene is among the people whom Jesus Christ had cured of evil spirits. Scripture doesn’t specifically detail how these spirits manifested in her life, but it does portray her encounter with Jesus, which led to her deliverance and unwavering devotion to Him.

Mary loved Jesus so much that she stood at the cross (John 19:25) with Jesus’ mother and others and continued to watch over the tomb when He died. In fact, according to John (John 20:11-18), she was so overwhelmed with tears that she didn’t initially recognise Him when He revealed Himself after His resurrection, mistaking Him for a gardener.

How many of us are determined to live a life of patiently enduring continual wrongs or trouble? Following Jesus is not a walk in the park; however, the end result is worth every pain endured. Jesus Himself suffered to earn “the name above every other name”, and Mary Magdalene earned her place in the Holy book through her unwavering devotion.

What about you? Are you willing to stay the course, or do you only follow Jesus when it suits you? The word of God encourages us to give thanks in all circumstances, including the good, bad, and ugly, not just when it’s convenient.

Staying near to God

I greatly admire people who maintain consistency in their walk with God; it inspires me to do better. Pain, in whatever form it comes, isn’t all bad. The wilderness is where we let our guard down because we’re not in full control, and it’s where God often works most powerfully in our lives.

One day, whatever you’re going through will make sense. Through Mary Magdalene’s story, we learn that your testimony can be maintained by staying in the presence of Jesus (read Luke 11:24-26).

Mary understood this revelation and chose to live a life of sacrifice to Jesus. If you identify yourself by the world’s standards, you can never enjoy a life of continuous communion with Jesus. The world’s criteria don’t include Christ and cannot be fulfilled. There will always be someone who appears better in various aspects.

Conforming to the world’s patterns will only lead to misery. So, choose Jesus, who doesn’t promise a life of ease but assures us of His help in navigating the valleys and storms to make us better people.

Staying with Jesus makes you familiar with Him and enables you to recognise Him in various situations. She embodied heavenly wisdom, a trait acquired only by walking with Him. Jesus’ character rubs off on you when you abide in Him.

John 20:18 tells us that Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, declaring, “I have seen the Lord!” She could boldly share this news because she knew Him.

In her poem “The Narrow Way” the English writer Anne Brontë writes,
        … he that dares not grasp the thorn
        Should never crave the rose.
Dare to embrace the challenges of following Jesus through thick and thin, and the blessings that you seek will come to you.

Mary Magdalene’s story is told in Matthew 27-28, Mark 15-16, Luke 23-24 and John 19-20.

Prayer for today:

“Dear Lord, may I, like Mary Magdalene, find unwavering devotion in my journey with You. Grant me strength to endure, the wisdom to recognise Your presence, and the courage to embrace the path of faith. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Jasmin Zubida Baidoo

Jasmin Zubida Baidoo presents “Hosting His Presence”, a dawn devotional on Asaase 99.5 every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (4.25am-4.55am). Watch the last devotional on catch-up here.

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