Thursday, April 10, 2014

P3 - Mary Magdalene: A mourner turned into a missionary - Life Applications

John 20:31 "but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."
Introduction and Review:
Yesterday we considered how Mary Magdalene had went through a three phase process in relationship to the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1. She was in a desparate situation that could be described by one word - mourning

2. She was directly encountered by the risen Christ

3. She had a dramatic change that resulted in her being changed from a mourner into a missionary.

Truly such an account is awesome and amazing to behold and read. With that said, we find the words from the Apostle John recorded above at the beginning of today's post in John 20:31.  Clearly such an account of the life changing power of Jesus Christ in the life of Mary Magdalene and the other disciples' encounters with the risen Savior was meant for the reader today. What life applications can we draw from her life? What relationship, if any, does Jesus' post-resurrection power have to do with you today? In reflecting upon what we have discovered in these last few posts, we can draw out the following life applications:

1). Salvation is described as an encounter with the post - resurrected Jesus
As one begins to explore the rest of the New Testament, it is clear how often salvation is connected with the resurrected power of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost says in Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."  1 Peter 1:3 notes - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Peter wrote those words some 30 years after the events recorded in the Gospels. 1 Peter 1:21 states - "who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." Such a salvation includes provisions for delivery from fear of death and intense grief. (Isaiah 53:4-6; Hebrews 2:14) So we see that quite literally, by the agency of the Holy Spirit of God, every Christian living today can say like Mary Magdalene: "I have seen the Lord!" But now let us notice a second life application, namely....

2). Sanctification includes the indwelling post-resurrected Jesus
There was something that radically was altered in both the humanity of our Lord and the humanity of his followers.  For Jesus, His resurrection from the dead enabled Him to walk through walls and defy gravity. (Luke 24:43; Acts 1:11) He remained physical (John 20:27) and could eat food (Luke 24:43) and yet He could alter His physical body in such a fashion as to pass through closed doors and appear in physical form to his disciples (John 20:19,26). 
Clearly people like Mary Magdalene walked differently and talked differently.  Not only was there a one time dramatic change but there was ever increasing ongoing change - whereby the disciples were becoming more and more like their master - a process we called "sanctification". 

What makes Christians today have even more remarkable experiences than the disciples is the fact that the living Christ is described as not being just brought to them (salvation) but being ever increasingly revealed in them (sanctification). Romans 8:10 states - "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." The Holy Spirit says through Paul in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." We then read in Ephesians 3:17 "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love". Colossians 1:27 records - "to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

What these passages indicate then is that because of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead - all of the spiritual benefits won for us on the cross are transmitted by the Holy Spirit as a result of His resurrection.  His post-resurrected power necessarily leads to change in a person who has been both impacted and indwelt by it. Truly for those who struggle with mourning over their past or in the present, the same power that changed Mary Magdalene the mourner into Mary Magdalene the missionary is available in an even greater measure to you and I as Christians today.  

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