Monday, June 23, 2014

Trophy of Healing, part 2 (Luke 8:1,2)

Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, (Luke 8:1, 2 NASB

In the previous post, we learned that Jesus was accompanied by "some women who had been healed".  They served as a kind of "trophy of grace", as they were living, breathing proof of His power over sin, sickness, and evil. 

The first woman mentioned is Mary Magdalene, Magdalene being used to indicate her hometown. This was the Mary  from Magdala, and not the Mary from Bethany. She is described as having seven demons that had "gone out" from her. They had, indeed, gone out, but not willingly. They had "gone out" at the command of Jesus. 

The number seven is an important number in the numerology of Scripture, and is used to indicate perfection or completion. The presence of seven demons implies that she was completely evil, as we can well imagine with seven demons residing inside her. She was likely completely controlled by those demons. She was completely controlled by demons, that is, until she met Jesus. He cast them out and set her free. As we would expect, that freedom was such a relief that she never wanted those demons back again, and she did the only thing that could assure her freedom. She left her evil lifestyle, and kept close to Jesus. 

There are three very important lessons to learn from Mary Magdalene's presence in the group. First, once Jesus cleanses us, our sin no longer belongs to us. He has removed it as far as the East is from the West. She was no longer "Mary the devil woman" but Mary from Magdala. It's important to remember that we, and those we love, become new creatures in Christ. We must be willing to loosen our hold on what Christ has removed, and embrace the new person, the cleansed person He is creating. 

Second, Mary's presence was a testimony to the power of God, not the power of the demons. They were her past. It was her new life that was compelling, and it focused totally on how powerful God was, not on how bad she had been. A recitation of her sins is not included, because what she had done was not the important point. It was what Christ had done that mattered. 

The third point should bring great hope to those who have loved ones mired in sin. Not even one who is completely controlled by evil is beyond the redemptive power of God. All have sinned; all are in need of a Savior; none can be saved except by the blood of Jesus, even one who is completely evil. 

Do you know someone who is filled with and controlled by evil?  Do not give up hope for them. Remember that Mary Magdalene was controlled by evil until an encounter with Christ set her free, and He can do the same for those we know and love, as well. 

Are you struggling with the power of sin in your life? That power can be broken, but only by the work of redemption accomplished by Christ. Invite Jesus to set your free, then stay close to Him so you can stay free. 

Mary Magdalene became a trophy of grace, and we, by the power of God, can be trophies of grace as well. 

Link to last night's blog post: