A new story from First Presbyterian Church


Real life superheroes nurses doctors teachers grocery store clerks pharmacists especially supermarkets this mother's day is unlike any other most of us have ever experienced the code nineteen pandemic has put tremendous strain on families and especially on mothers in addition to their day to day career work they've had to come home health providers home school teachers recreation directors mental health counselors not to mention the everyday domestic duties of taking care of a family but during this crisis I've seen so many examples of grace under pressure women on our staff with young children and teenagers others taking care of grandchildren at home members of our congregation who are reaching out to one another I think about families in our church you are fostering children like the lenses and the balance I also think about people at the other end of the spectrum who are not able to have as much direct contact like my own mother who is unfortunately right now separated from her own children and grandchildren and of course when I think about super moms I think about Morgan he's demonstrated super human levels of patience with me and with both and I just thank god for all of the super women who are acting with so much courage and so much energy and so much ingenuity and so much grace under pressure one of the things that I've noticed about the amazing women around us right now is that just when they think that they have nothing left to give just when we think that they can't give anymore they can't do anymore that they can't last any longer they find the more they dig deep and god gives them more energy more insight more wisdom more courage and even more grace and so today on mother's day as we continue our study of the witnesses to the resurrection we're going to turn our attention to a super woman of the Bible one of the first key witnesses of the resurrection her name is Mary Magdalene and Mary Madeline is one of the new testament's greatest super heroes one of the new testament's greatest testimonies to the grace under pressure so if you could please turn with me to the gospel of Luke chapter twenty four beginning in verse one would you read along with me but on the first day of the week at early dawn they went to the tomb taking the spices they had prepared and they found the stone rolled away from the team but when they went in they did not find the body of the lord Jesus while they were perplexed about this behold two men stood by them in dazzling apparel and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground the men said to them why do you seek the living among the dead he is not here but has risen remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rice and they remember these words and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to the rest now it was merry Magdeleine and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles but these words seemed to them an idle tale and they did not believe them but Peter rose and ran to the tomb stooping and looking in and he saw the linen cloths by themselves anyone home marveling at what had happened the grass withers and the flower fades but the word of our god and yours for ever let us pray speak lord for your servants are listening I mean the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be holy and acceptable to you oh lord our rock and our redeemer for it is in the name of your son our precious lord and savior Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit that we pray then well today we're going to continue our discussion about the witnesses to the resurrection and any honest in depth discussion about the witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ would be absolutely unthinkable without paying significant attention to Mary Magdalene so who was Mary Magdalene Magdeleine was a Galilean woman probably from the town of Magdala which was a rough frontier fishing town on the west bank of the sea of Galilee because Magdalo was a town with a bad reputation by association it's often thought that Mary must also had a bad reputation and unfortunately she is often commonly but wrongly painted as a prostitute there is however no scriptural evidence to support that allegation but she became a stalwart follower of Jesus Christ and was part of a small group of women who supported the earthly mission of Jesus financially and who provided for Jesus and the twelve out of their own finances out of their own means for most of the story she remained in the background that is until that fateful Holy Week when she became an eye witness to the resurrection like the other witnesses to the resurrection Mary story begins with a traumatic crisis of the death of Jesus she was there at all gotcha she saw him crucified she heard the clanging hammering the jeering spectators she heard the condemnation of the holy man she watched the callous soldiers roll dice for his clothes and she felt the convulsions of Jesus's own sobbing mother Mary and she cried in her arms watching her son died on the cross she heard Christ's last words and then she saw him die finally when it was all over she had seen him laid to rest in a borrowed tomb the only mercy but he'd been shown on that horrible day Mary felt all the pain experienced by the apostles felt all the trauma experienced by the others the big difference though was that she stayed with Jesus she stayed with him the whole time from the cross to the grave and no one knew better than she but he was truly dead that level of trauma should have crushed her the world she knew had collapsed the life she knew was over Luke says that on the first day of the week at early dawn she and others went to the tomb taking the spices that they had prepared early on that morning Mary and a few other women worse during wrestling themselves awake it would have been so easy for Mary and for the others just to roll over and go back to sleep the given to our exhaustion actually that morning when the weight of his death was still so heavy she and the others had work to do so gathering up their spices doing on his body they set off they went to the tomb they wouldn't think of letting him go without paying tribute without one final touch she made herself available to the lord that morning to go and serve and he gave her the energy to Sir you have you ever been so emotionally physically and spiritually exhausted but you just couldn't get out of bed you didn't have the energy to rice our lives are so ridiculously busy and turned over right now it's so easy to give in to the exhaustion of this crisis and so we miss the gift of god's energy and I pray that the lord would give you the energy to get out of bed in the morning and to serve him if he would give that to all of us but it wasn't just an issue of energy was also an issue of courage why was Mary so loyal to Jesus in the first place well if we dig a little deeper into merry story we read that when Jesus found her she was in the grip of demonic possession as a matter of fact the scripture tells us that she was possessed by seven demons I can't even begin to imagine the darkness and the pain of Mary's life the Bible doesn't give us any details about Mary's own situation but in other places the New Testament we read descriptions of other people plagued by demons throwing themselves in the fires raging against their neighbors muttering blasphemies broken scared violent alone I mean she was literally in her own personal health and then she's a center free she was no longer living in the dark night of terror a slave to the lies and the abuse of the enemy Jesus cast out all her darkness and she was embraced and loved by the light of the son of god because of what Jesus did for her she was not going to give up on him even though he was dead at the moment of greatest danger she went to the tomb because god gave merry Magdeleine her courage her loyalty to Jesus over road for fear of arrest she was not going to cut and run and even though it was dangerous and even though it would be painful to see him god had put in her attend massively a loyalty that would not let her let him go even though he was dead her gratitude drove her to the tune to serve him and honor him one last time instead of running away from Jesus even the dead Jesus she held on Zacks grace because it defies every human instinct all the disciples ran and hid she doubled down you know be so easy to give in to fear in this crisis unlike merry I just pray that the lord will give us the courage that you and I need right now when Mary and the others got to the team they found the stone rolled away and discovered that the body of Jesus was missing the Bible says that while they were perplexed about this which is a gentle way of saying that they were completely freaked out they were met by two men in dazzling white cliffs and the man said why do you seek the living among the dead he's not here but he is risen remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified on the third day and rice I mean there were Mary and her companions looking for Jesus but they were looking for him in the wrong place how many times have you and I look for life in places where there's only death for fullness where there's only emptiness for substance weather's only smoke I mean I've peered into so many tunes of fame and wealth I've stepped in the caverns where the powerful in the popular preside my offerings to the pleasures of this world looking for life and joy and then I hear that whisper that cuts like a tip of the sword slices through the noise that asks me why are you looking for life here why are you looking for the living among the dead look for Jesus look where life can be found these two heavenly beings that met Marion the others at the tomb remind me of the importance of good teachers and leaders circle teacher small group leader Sunday school teachers they remind me of those teachers because they did too thanks they told Mary and the others that they were looking for Jesus in the wrong place and they told them to turn around and turn back to his word remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rice if we're going to grow as god's witnesses we need teachers and leaders who will challenge us when we are looking for love in all the wrong places we need people who are gonna put us on the path to god's word and so it's so important for us to have credible godly competent teachers who know the Bible you know the world and you know the difference the truth is we all need wisdom right now as we see Christ as we make decisions I pray that the lord will put teachers and leaders in.

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