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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Three Marys, No Four, Mary Magdalene

When I think of Mary Magdalene I think of a person who went from shame to honor.  The gospels tell about a woman from a good family in the town of Magdala who was possessed by seven demons.  Seven is the number of completeness so we could say she was completely possessed.  And to be possessed not only was shameful but brought shame to her family.  But Jesus delivered her fully and completely.  Mary became a follower of Jesus traveling with him as he went about the country.  (Luke 8)

When we think of following Jesus in the 21 century as women we do not fully grasp the implications of what following Jesus meant in the 1st century.  In the first century women did not leave their homes and travel without their husband or father or another family member.  To follow Jesus around the countryside would mean Mary was somehow suspected of impropriety or worse dishonor.  We find Mary of Magdalene as a disciple, one of the Jesus band, one exposed to the person, the way and message of Jesus.  Mar…

The Three Mary's, no Four: Mary of Bethany Part Two

We meet Mary of Bethany at several points in the gospel story.  She was among the followers of Jesus, the sister of Lazarus and Martha.  The home Mary and Martha shared with their brother Lazarus was just outside of Jerusalem, a place frequented by Jesus and his disciples.  Mary was a witness to the raising of Lazarus after having been in the tomb for four days.  She was also known for anointing Jesus before his death.  More, she took the seat of a disciple at the feet of Jesus, learning the gospel and the way of Jesus.  Tradition tells us that Mary was at the cross with the other women and was one of the group of women at the tomb following the crucifixion.  Mary of Bethany was quite well known to Jesus.

The first time we meet Mary of Bethany is at her home in Luke 10:38-42.  Evidently sister Martha had invited Jesus and his traveling band of disciples into her home and was preparing a meal.  Mary, instead of helping to prepare the meal found herself at the feet of Jesus learning a…

The Three Mary's No Four in the Bible (Part One)

I have always loved the name Mary in fact I named by first born daughter Mary.  At the time I loved the story about Mary the mother of Jesus.  I have also noticed the other women in the Bible who share the name Mary.

Mary the mother of Jesus.

Often we focus on Mary the mother of Jesus as the ultimate woman, wife, mother.  But the author of Luke portrays Mary as the faithful disciple as he sets her character in relation to the character of Zechariah the father of John the Baptist.  When confronted with the miraculous birth of his son, Zechariah a priest, questions this act and finds himself unable to speak throughout the duration of his wife Elizabeth's pregnancy.  Mary on the other hand receives the miracle of a new birth while trusting God with her life.

And the stakes are higher for Mary.  As an unwed teenager, Mary displays courage.  She knows that she will be judged by her peers as possibly an adulterer.  She knows that receiving the Spirit's creation of new life will je…

Jesus, the New Temple

Mark 11:20-26

Our last post examined the relationship between the entry into Jerusalem, the withering Fig Tree and the Temple cleansing as they were stories strung together for meaning.

Last Post We noted that Jesus was doing something significant by coming as a King--a humble king, turning the tables of money changers and calling the Temple a cave of brigands. Many among the people of God sought a military messiah who would deliver them from the oppression of Rome.

The temple had become a symbol of nationalistic identity, a place of exclusion instead of a place where heaven and earth met and where God would dwell with people. His people were to take the knowledge of God, the way of God and the presence of God and share it with others but instead they became protectionist and formed an us against them mind. The people often prayed that God would wipe the Gentiles off the face of the earth and once again make their nation free and powerful. But Jesus revealed that he was doing …