Over the course of each school year, I show my seventh grade boys a movie filmed in 1999 called JESUS. In one scene, Mary Magdalene watched from a distance as Jesus rescued the woman caught in adultery from being stoned.
As Jesus and His group of disciples passed near where Mary was standing, He looked at her and asked: “Do you want to come with us?” “Where?” Mary replied. “Does it matter?” the Lord answered. “Yes,” she said, “I go where I want… I am free.” Looking directly into her eyes, Jesus said: “You’re not free… but you could be.” Hesitating as Jesus continued to walk, Mary called out: “That woman… You treated her as if she is worth something.” “So are you…” He replied. “Come, follow Me.”
Many have been intrigued with Mary from Magdala over the years. Though the Bible does not say, some have supposed she was a prostitute in Galilee. Scripture does reveal that Jesus cast seven demons out of her… and we know she did faithfully follow the Master.
Whatever Mary’s back story, I imagine her experiences were similar to those in our broken world: hidden abuse, poor choices, addiction, shame, loneliness, self-rejection… Our Savior does not shy away from such obstacles. He understands perfectly; He fears no evil; and He possesses all authority.
Knowing His purpose to seek and save the lost, Jesus possesses the pure heart of His Father. “I see you and I love you. I am the Answer to your self-doubt and self-loathing. I am the Way and I am choosing you to be Mine. Look into My eyes; listen to My voice; trust Me.”
Read afresh the Gospels and notice the Savior’s passion for people. He forgives; He heals; He delivers; He exposes the devil’s lies; He restores; He loves. Because of sin we’ve all been separated from the Lover of our souls, but Jesus reconciles us to God. “My Father is the One who created you, who loves you, and who has given His most precious gift to redeem you. Relinquish your pride and receive the good news. Believe in God; believe also in Me. I set captives free; I give eternal life. Come, follow Me.”
“You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” Acts 10:37-38
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” II Corinthians 5:14-21