Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Display

What does it mean to “Be nothing but a capacity for Christ to live in”?

It means our lives are just a setting for the life of Christ to be on display.

We’re studying the “Women in the New Testament” in our ladies’ Bible Study each month.
But we’re studying these women, so we can look at the setting of their lives, and see His character and life on display in that setting.

Mary Magdalene was one of those women.

She watched Christ die for our sins.
She watched His burial.
She was the FIRST to see Him after He rose from the dead.
And she was the first person commissioned to tell others about it.

Mary watched the entire Gospel message played out -- an eyewitness to one of the most pivotal events in human history.

Her life became a setting for His life and the gospel message to be on display.

When she first met Jesus, Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons. 
She was enslaved, tormented, living a destructive life.
Her situation was without remedy. 
She was hopeless.

Hers was a desperate situation that she needed Christ to walk into and do what only He could do.

And that’s exactly what He did.

Evil spirits never willingly came into the presence of Christ.
And they never willingly left the person they were tormenting.

But they went out of Mary and others because they were unable to resist the presence and power of Christ.  He walked into her life, spoke a word to the evil spirits, and they obeyed.

And Mary Magdalene was completely transformed. 

She was allowed to follow Jesus during much of His public ministry. 
She ministered to Him of her “substance” and was completely devoted to His Person.

And when Jesus died . . . she was there.

She saw Him bleed and suffer.
She heard every word He said from the Cross.
And she watched Him die.

The disciples had forsaken Him and fled in fear.
The Father had forsaken Him . . . . only because He had become sin for us.

But Mary Magdalene was there. 

Still there when His body was taken down from the cross, she watched in the shadows as two other devoted followers buried His body and rolled a large stone over the mouth of the tomb.

Eager to have one more opportunity to show her devotion to Him, Mary arrived at the tomb early on the first day of the week.  

But, when she arrived, the stone was rolled away from the tomb. 
And the tomb was empty.

The trauma of all she had witnessed and the thought that someone had stolen His body, was more than she could bear.  So she did the only thing there was left to do. . . .she wept.

She forgot that He said He would rise again.

Angels asked her why she was weeping. 
Jesus stood behind her and asked the same question. 

But she was so overwrought by her grief, she didn’t recognize Jesus.   
Or the joy the empty tomb should have meant for her.

But Jesus spoke her name. . . .“Mary.”  
And she knew His voice. 
She knew He was alive!

And Jesus commissioned her to tell others the good news.

Christ had walked into Mary's desperate situation and accomplished by His death and resurrection what only He could do.

We weren’t eyewitnesses of all that Mary saw.
But what she witnessed is the same thing that rescued us from our desperate situation.
And we've also been commissioned to tell others.

The best place to start is by being "nothing but a capacity for Christ to live in."

Our lives just a setting for His life to be on display.

[Click here to listen to a fuller version of these women's stories.]

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