Translated by Allan Liang
Throughout church history, Jesus’ bodily resurrection was always held to be a core Christian teaching, a fundamental Christian belief. First, Christians proclaim that Jesus’ death accomplished redemption, his resurrection being the basis of that proclamation. Jesus’ resurrection revealed that he triumphed over death (Acts 2:24, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57), proved that he was righteous (John 16:10), and made certain his divine nature (Romans 1:4).
Second, Jesus’ resurrection, just like his death, is absolutely vital to our salvation, for our bodies destined to decay must be united with him through the resurrection in order to become imperishable in the age to come (Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 15:42-57). If Christ did not resurrect, our faith is useless, because we will still die under judgement, and we will not be able to live forever through the resurrected body (1 Corinthians 15:12-20). When the Lord Jesus died, the disciples became weak and fled, but after Jesus resurrected, the power of the Lord’s resurrection abided with them (Luke 24:26-27, 44-47, Acts 2:25-32, 13:35-37), and their lives were once again strengthened; the first generation of disciples all died for the Lord, spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth, producing the reality of the universal church of Christ today.
After reading the three verses of Scripture in today’s sharing, what is the first response that comes to your mind? Wow, the resurrected Lord Jesus first appeared to this Mary Magdalene; who is she, worthy of such an honor! The Lord didn’t even appear first to the disciples whom he loved and spent day and night with. How blessed is she, brothers and sisters! From the four Gospels, let us come to know what this sister, Mary Magdalene, did for the Lord:
When Jesus suffered on the cross: “Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.” (Mark 15:39-41, see Matthew 27:54-56);
When Jesus was buried on the night of his death: “... The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23: 54-56, see Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:47);
The morning of Jesus’ resurrection on the Lord’s day: “Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body...they were on their way to the tomb” (Mark 16:1-2, see Matthew 28:1).
When the Lord Jesus died, the disciples had already fled, what could be described as a time of great persecution, and what was left, was this group of faithful women who followed Christ (Luke 23:49) and sought to find ways to serve the Lord Jesus, without regard for their own safety, how precious was this. Seeing the resurrected Lord, she believed, and though she did not fully understand, she rushed to tell the disciples who were in great sorrow, most of whom, did not initially believe the Lord had risen (Luke 24:10-12) and the words of this woman. The Lord especially had mercy on John and Peter (John 20:8-10). The Gospels mention twice that Jesus once drove seven demons from Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2, Mark 16:9), her sins have already been forgiven, and a great grace was given to her. Christ placed this great glory on her, blessing her to be the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection. The more faithful and loving we are to Christ Jesus, the sooner and further we will see him. Have we been faithful in our service? Will we look down upon the service of sisters in the church? The littlest brother who serves quietly in the church, and the aged brother who spends the night praying for the church, may very much be like Mary Magdalene, one greatly blessed by the Lord for their faithful discipleship.
Please read the Scripture verses, Mark 16:9-11, and meditate, reflect and pray: How many years have I been baptised (Ephesians 4:1)? Is my belief in Jesus’ resurrection enough to overturn my “three views”: my view on life, my value system and my worldview? Through the pandemic that has affected the world for nearly half a year, let us reflect on this, do I still yearn for days of peace and comfort? May the Lord help us learn from and imitate Mary Magdalene.
Soli Deo Gloria!