Mary knelt beside the empty garden tomb, tears streaming down her face with renewed grief and sorrow, when she heard Him ask, “Woman, why weepest thou?”
Thinking the gardener had approached her, Mary turned to Him, asking Him to lead her to His body. If it was missing, she would recover it. His enemies had already claimed His life; she didn’t want them claiming His rest.
With that one word, all other thoughts flew away, and Mary recognized her Lord. (John 20:11-18)
This moment between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene demonstrates the love and respect that He had for her – and that He holds for all of God’s children.
When Mary was at one of her lowest moments, Jesus came and lifted her again. He does the same thing to us.
When we find ourselves in low moments, we can remember these three things to bring our minds and hearts closer to Christ – and closer to healing.
Jesus Knows Our Divine Role
We know very little about Mary Magdalene. She was a devoted disciple of Jesus from the time He cast devils out from her. She joined with His other disciples and followed Him in His travels. She found herself at His feet when He was crucified.
And, of course, we know the moment beside the garden tomb.
That’s pretty much all we know about her. But from this little we do know, we see a beautiful example of discipleship and loyalty on her part, and a clear respect and love on Jesus’s.
In His interactions with Mary Magdalene, Jesus recognizes her role as a daughter of God. In a time when women were underestimated and diminished in the eyes of the world, Jesus showed deep understanding for the importance of women in His Father’s kingdom.
Christ’s understanding extends to us as well. He knows each of us. He recognizes our strengths and weaknesses. But most important, He loves each of us in spite of all out shortcomings. And He guides us to overcome those things and fulfill our role in His kingdom.
Mary Magdalene wasn’t perfect. But Jesus still healed her and invited her to follow Him. He forgave her and she found a new chance to continue forward.
We may not have seven devils battling inside of us, but we do have our struggles. We have times when we don’t feel worthy or capable. I know many people feel this way in their roles as parents, siblings, employees, etc.
Jesus shows us through His interactions with people during His life that we do not need to feel this way.
Do we need to repent? Yes.
Do we need to seek Him and take genuine action to follow Him? Yes.
But should we question ourselves when we fall short of where we would like to be?
Because we are God’s children. Questioning our divine identity leads us down the same path Satan took ages ago. Satan’s influence drives us away from God, but remembering who we really are and how important we are to our Father in Heaven defends us against Satan’s attacks.
If we aren’t sure who we are or why we matter, we can remember that Christ does know. We can go to Him and our Father to find answers to those questions, and we will be led to understand our identity the way They understand us.
Sin Doesn’t Change Who We Are
Our role as children of God is sure. Nothing can change that, no matter what we think or what anyone says. It is inherent in us and we can rely on that.
One thing I want to be clear on – Sin hurts us. It does. And if left like an open sore, it can be debilitating.
So, I’m not diminishing the effect sin can have on us. However, despite its power, sin cannot change our inherent qualities as children of God even if it pulls us away from Him at times.
Look at the example of the woman who committed adultery. There are some debates surrounding the exact circumstances of this woman’s situation, but she was still found guilty of sin.
7 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.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 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.
10 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?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.John 8:7-11
When dragged to Jesus, this woman found herself freed and forgiven. The sin still needed to be resolved, but Jesus offered her love and understanding rather than condemnation.
He saw her for who she was – a daughter of God in need of truth.
When we have faith in Christ, no matter what we’ve done, we can go to Him. No fear needs to be involved.
Jesus Christ came to earth to save us. Part of that responsibility is understanding us and our situations.
His understanding doesn’t justify us, but it can heal us.
Even more than that, His understanding reminds us that we matter. That we aren’t insignificant specks of dust in the vast vacuum of the universe, but that we are loved by the Creator of the Universe.
We Are Always Loved
One of the easiest things in the world to do is be unforgiving to ourselves. Our weaknesses, our flaws, our sins, our troubles all pile up until those things are all we see.
But our personal mindset directly effects whether we let things pile up or not. The best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by our inadequacies is to remember our Savior’s sacrifice for us.
Sister Sharon Eubank said:
I appeal to each of you to put yourself in a place where you can feel the generous love God has for you. You cannot put yourself beyond the reach of that love. When you feel His love, when you love Him, you will repent and keep His commandments. When you keep His commandments, He can use you in His work. His work and glory is the exaltation and eternal life of women and men.Sharon Eubank, “Turn On Your Light,” October 2017
Our greatest strength is in our Savior and our relationship to Him. Seeking His love not only lifts us higher, it heals us and reminds us who we are and what we are truly capable of.
This week, let’s keep His love in our hearts and minds. Let’s ask our Father in Heaven what we mean to Him and what we can do to draw closer to Him.
You matter to Him. You are the reason for everything that He does.
He isn’t giving up on us. And He never will.