The Adoration and Tenacity of Mary of Magdala
A Passover Story
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God appointed seven annual Feasts for His people to observe to remember His faithfulness.1 These Feasts are prophetic foreshadows of Jesus’ life, sacrifice, death, burial, resurrection, and return.2 The people knew when to observe them by counting from the new and full moons.
The following events in the life of Mary of Magdala took place on the first full moon of spring on the first Feast of the year – Passover and Unleavened Bread.
(I am writing about these events during the 7th full moon on the last Feast of the year –The Feast of Tabernacles. The fullness of God’s plan in Jesus is reflected in these two full moons that encase His Appointed Days like bookends!)
Jesus, the Lamb of God, was killed on The Day of Preparation for the Passover at the same time the lambs were being killed for the Passover Feast that year. It was Thursday, and Passover began at sunset. The first day of Unleavened Bread would follow on Friday just before the weekly, Saturday Shabbat (Sabbath or Day of Rest). In other words, there were two days of rest in a row after Jesus’ death that Thursday.3
From noon to 3:00 p.m., Mary watched her Lord die cruelly on the Roman execution pole – this One Who had delivered her from demons! She clung to the unbelievable scene. The most compassionate, selfless man she had ever known – crushed, chastened for our well-being, scourged for our healing, and smitten of God.4
After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate for permission to take His body. He had to wait a while because Pilate had to ensure that Jesus was dead.5 We do not know how long Joseph waited, but the wait must have been anxious and difficult because he had to prepare for Passover which began that evening at 6:00; Joseph only had three hours.6 Mary stood by while Joseph procured the transfer of Jesus’ body to the tomb.
Joseph’s own new tomb had already been hewn out of a rock in a garden near the place where Jesus was executed,7 so he brought Jesus’ body there. He anointed and wrapped it in linen cloths and laid Him in the tomb. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, also came with myrrh and aloe.8 Mary of Magdala, Salome, and Mary (the mother of Joses, James and Jesus) looked on. Then, they all left the gravesite to be home in time for the Passover Feast and to rest on the next two back-to-back Sabbaths according to the commandment. Mary would have stayed if she could have; she may have slept there. But she went home to observe Passover.
As she ate the lamb and bitter herbs that evening, she remembered the declaration of John the Immerser – “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” As she gathered with the others the next day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, she remembered her deliverance by Jesus just as her people celebrated their deliverance from Egypt. As she rested the next day on Shabbat, she pondered how Jesus had healed her tormented, restless soul with His peace.9
At her very first opportunity on Sunday morning while it was still dark,10 Mary returned to the tomb with spices. She and the other women wondered how they would move the stone that was over its entrance, since no men had accompanied them.11 Not only had the stone been heavy, but unbeknownst to the women, it had been secured with a Roman seal.12
But just as they wondered about the stone, they saw that it had been rolled away by an earthquake and an angel!13 Mary ran to tell Peter and John that Jesus was not in the tomb! They ran back to the tomb and marveled! Then, the men returned home.
But Mary stayed, weeping. She lingered. She abided in the moment and embraced the stillness and wonder in the fresh morning air. In her lingering, the Father blessed her. As she stooped and looked inside the tomb, “She beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.”14
Then, she heard a man’s voice behind her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”15 Supposing Him to be the gardener and transfixed on the sight before her, Mary did not turn around…until He said her name. How would the gardener know her name? The familiar sound of His voice softly pierced her. She knew this Gardener Who had nourished and tended her soul! She knew her Shepherd’s voice!
At this point, she did not want to let Jesus go! But He told her to go tell the others and, also, that He would ascend to the Father.
Mary of Magdala stayed and was the first one to see Jesus after He was risen!
Lord, I want to stay. I want to linger a little longer. I don’t want to miss any of Your wonder! I want to see You risen, high and lifted up! I want to be changed by beholding You!
Thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob and He Who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”17
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion, for behold I am coming, and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord.18
1 Leviticus 23
2 To learn more, please see the Feast of Israel Fulfilled Art Card Collection here at FlowerGirlGreetings.com and read the history on the back of each card, or read the Art Card stories of the Feasts on this website here.
3 For a full timeline of Jesus’ last days, please see A Timeline of Yeshua Messiah’s Life at ShaleFragments.com by clicking here.
4 Isaiah 53:4-5
5 Mark 15:43-45
6 Usually the executed bodies were left to rot on the poles as an embarrassment and a statement to the crowds, so Joseph’s request was unusual; it was doubly unusual that Pilate would bother to grant Joseph his request.
7 Mark 15:46; Matthew 27:60
8 John 19:39
9 This paragraph is an imaginative interpretation of Scripture; it is not actual Scripture.
10 John 20:1
11 Mark 16:3
12 On Friday (after Passover evening), the chief priests, Pharisees, and Pilate made the grave secure with a seal. The seal would designate that anyone tampering with it would be put to death. Guards were placed at the site, also. The rulers wanted to prevent Jesus’ body from being stolen as well as prevent the spread of rumors about Him rising from the dead. (Matthew 27:62-66)
13 Mark 16:4; Matthew 28:2
14 John 20:12
15 John 20:15-18
16 John 10:27
17 Isaiah 43:1
18 Zechariah 2:10
Shale Fragments™ - devotionals by Beth Ann Phifer is a division of Flower Girl Greetings, LLC. ©2020, All Rights Reserved.
Blessings and love in Him,
❤ I love this so much! I adore the Scripture when Jesus called her name. "Mary". I have heard my Shepherd call my name.
Welcome to Shale Fragments, a collection of writings and art for individual and group use!
Teaching God’s truth and the beauty of His Word is my greatest delight! My art card company, Flower Girl Greetings, was launched in 2012 with this purpose. In April 2020, ShaleFragments.com became the gathering place for the writings.
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