• Kerri Kenyon Dern

Go First

Updated: Feb 25, 2019


MONDAYS WITH KERRI


My hero in Scripture might appear to be an unlikely pick. Humanly speaking, she was dirty, unworthy, and used up. She had lost her life to self-destructive choices and was found by Jesus while on the pathway to death. When Jesus rescued her, she chose to surrender to him as passionately as she had to the darkness that once filled her life. Mary Magdalene knew her future and her inheritance were found only in Jesus. He had released her from the jaws of her enemy. She had been demon possessed and her Savior stepped in to set her free from her life of bondage. She had literally lost her mind, will, and body as slave to The Betrayer. When Jesus delivered her, she understood that she had no life outside of Him, so it was not a sacrifice for her to leave her old life to follow Him. She was recorded to be a woman of financial means and chose to travel with Jesus to tangibly support His ministry. She gave the death she had lived in to Jesus and found that He is The One who gives real life. He became her life. In John 20:1-18 we find her story.


Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, The One whom Jesus loved. She said, "They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!" Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side. Then the other disciple also went in, and he saw and believed — for until then they hadn't realized that the Scriptures said he would rise from the dead. Then they went home. Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. "Why are you crying?" the angels asked her. "Because they have taken away my Lord," she replied, "and I don't know where they have put him." She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone standing behind her. It was Jesus, but she didn't recognize him. "Why are you crying?" Jesus asked her. "Who are you looking for?" She thought he was the gardener. "Sir," she said, "if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him." "Mary!" Jesus said. She turned toward him and exclaimed, "Teacher!" "Don't cling to me," Jesus said, "for I haven't yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, my God and your God." Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, "I have seen the Lord!" Then she gave them his message.


Mary’s life serves to challenge us in a multitude of ways. But, perhaps the most powerful illustration she provides is the simplicity through which a life of faith is to be lived out today. She knew she could never repay Jesus for what He had done for her. So, she chose to live a life of worship and praise. Religion makes rules and rules that are hard to follow. When we attempt to follow rules we often fail. Then, wounded by shame, we can barely find the strength to stand and try again. A relationship with Jesus, however, is completely opposite; He imposes no rules on us. We are free to simply respond with humility and gratitude to The One who gave us life.


Mary’s life also illustrates the true Zoë (the fullest) life. She had lost her life and then found it in Jesus. Therefore, she did not perceive anything a risk except being separated or cut off from Him. The only life she had was in Him. So, she was free to operate out of the love she had for Him instead of fear for her own life. Her life demonstrates five postures of a true worshiper. This week we look at the first.


1) She went first; she risked her life to venture out into the early morning darkness while all the disciples stayed behind in hiding. Jesus had been crucified just days before; it made good sense to hide. But Mary went early, not waiting for the sun to come up when surely the number of soldiers on watch would have lessened. She went to the tomb alone when it was under tight surveillance, not caring what might happen to her.


Next week we will look at the second posture of a true worshiper.


//QUESTIONS AND ACTION STEPS//


Are you willing to go first? When your Heavenly Father asks you to step out in faith to speak, teach, write, serve or simply love beyond your human limitations will you obey? Will you trust Him? Obedience often calls us to stand alone; we must choose to go first even if no one comes with us.

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