I grew up in an industrial city known for its wealth. A thriving popular town. Being born here rubbed off a sense of responsibility and a mindset of wealth creation on you. It did on me. I would be one of those ladies you’d describe as a woman of wealth and substance, I had the means to live a comfortable life but I had a problem. My mental health was in shambles!
They say seven is a number of completeness. I was completely oppressed by invisible forces that laid hold of my mind and soul. Dread filled my days and my nights had no rest. Peace was a total stranger to me. I cannot say at what point these demons gained entrance into me, but I can tell how they left.
The day they left, I had met someone. A man. People called him the teacher and rumours had it that he claimed he was more than just another Jewish rabbi. That he was in fact the son of God. At our meeting, we were exact opposites. He had this soothing calm about him, his eyes peacefully reassuring and his aura so comforting. It was the first time in a while anyone made me feel human and he hasn’t even said a word yet.
This is Mary of Magdala. He didn’t seem to need an introduction. Somehow I felt he already knew me. He looked at me with such a gaze knowing, with my peace of mind destroyed and my control of will lost , I was a revolting object to behold with my disheveled hair, glaring eyes and sunken cheeks, still he stared. His eyes felt like a beam of light, they warmed me then it got hotter the longer he stared.
Then he spoke. With such authority that caused my demons to shiver in fear. “Out out! Back to hell you demons!” The miracle happened immediately. My oppressors walked out and never came back. My deranged mind and troubled mind became as tranquil as the troubled sea this teacher had calmed. Sanity returned. The rosy tint rose to my sunken cheeks and I could feel life rise all over my body and soul and mind.
Staying close to this teacher felt like sunbathing and I never wanted to go a day without the sun. I had experienced the depths of coldness of hell. I never wanted it again. I followed the teacher, giving to his ministry and supporting alongside other women. Many more like me had to have the opportunity to meet the teacher, to be free too and that’s why I gave.
It was all sunny and beautiful until darkness struck. The teacher was arrested and killed and I watched it all. Followed him from Pilate’s palace to his grave. I watched it all in heartbroken dismay. Pain greater than what the seven demons had inflicted on me surged through my body every minute. Friday night to Saturday night, the longest darkest twenty four hours to my life.
Sunday morning, I was determined to make his grave smell fresh. I figured the spices I and other women-disciples had placed must have dried up by now. On getting to his grave, it was wide open and his body wasn’t there. I cowered in fear . But two men sat on either end of the grave, after replying their questions about my mission and who I sought, I turned to leave.
That was when I saw him. He looked so normal I thought he was the gardener. “Sir” I said my voice haosk from crying for so long. “Please where have you kept him?” I wasn’t going to fight or accuse, the teacher had suffered too much injustice already and these people were bent on silencing his existence totally. I sobbed further by that thought.
His voice tore a veil from my eyes and suddenly I could see. “Rabboni!”
The suddenness of the realisation that this was the teacher standing before me caused me to move impulsively towards him. “Don’t!” He was firm but kind. “Don’t touch me for I’m yet to go to the Father “
Then he looked at me and gestured as he said the next words. “Go to my brothers, tell them I’m going to my father and your father. My God and your God”. Joy swayed me as I ran through the path that led to where the other disciples hid. My heart hit against my chest in quick succession. His words echoed in my head. “My Father and your Father…”
Later I would learn that I was the first person to ever see the risen Lord. The first to ever preach the gospel. But right at that moment, my head and heart was filled with the realisation that he the son of God called me sister. He called God my Father. From a slave to seven demons, I became a daughter of the Holy God of Israel.
I will never forget resurrection morning.
John 20:16 and 17. Mark 16:9