True Worshipers – Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene, in Mark 16:9, was the first person to meet Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus had also cast out seven demons from her, and she came to be the first person to meet the resurrected Christ. This is not just her story, but it is also our story. We, the great sinners with seven demons, also go through this transformation into someone whom Jesus loves dearly. How can we say that we have seven demons? The Bible often calls the heart a spiritual ground, upon which seeds are planted. God planted the garden in Genesis, which also symbolizes God planting His Word in our heart. Before this, the ground was a barren land. But God fences the ground, plants the seeds, waters and cultivates the garden. And so the barren ground is now transformed into a garden for which God cares. However, Adam rejects God sovereignty and follows the word of the serpent, and is accordingly kicked out of the garden. Why? Because God’s Word no longer ruled over Adam’s heart, and so the spiritual garden of his heart is made barren once more. That is why Adam has to be banished from the garden.
God then gave the promised land of Canaan to His people. Yet this land of Canaan was a cursed land within which foreign tribes dwelled. God wanted His people to conquer this land of Canaan and restore it back under God’s sovereignty. That is the story of the Bible. We need to restore the land back to God. This land is the once-cursed hearts of all people.
The land of Canaan represents the heart and soul. And in this land dwelled seven tribes. In Genesis 10:15-19 it lists 11 tribes, but by the time the Israelites enter Canaan, it was seven tribes (Deut. 7:1). This number seven represents fullness or completion, meaning that this land was fully and completely void of God’s reign. The Israelites were to drive out these seven tribes, to utterly destroy them (Deut. 7:2-4). What are these seven tribes dwelling in the promised land? God is saying that we must completely drive out and destroy these sins dwelling in our hearts. But the Israelites did not destroy them, and instead learned to live together in the land (Judg. 1:27-28). They even intermarried with the Canaanite tribes (Judg. 3:5-6). Wrong marriages lead people away from God. But more than physical marriages, we are led away from God when we make compromises with our sins and give our sins room to stay within the promised land of our hearts.
So what is the connection between the Israelites who did not drive out the Canaanite tribes, and the seven demons which dwelled in Mary Magdalene? Demons are things which cause us to sin. The seven demons are like the seven tribes which dwelled in the promised land. Jesus talks about seven sins which defile the heart (Matt. 15:19-20). Those who compromise and let such sins live in the heart are possessed by the seven demons which possessed Mary Magdalene. Yet Jesus came to Mary and freed her from her demons. May Jesus do the same to us too.
All these seven Canaanite tribes which dwell in our hearts must be driven out through love. The sins described in Matt. 15:19-20 break the last five of the Ten Commandments and can only be driven out through love. We need to confess that we have no ability to rid ourselves of these sins. Then God will cast out all our sins. When this happens, we will be freed of the seven demons which dwell within our hearts. Luke 8:1-2 records of how Mary Magdalene was freed to follow Jesus wherever He went. We will also be freed to serve God when these seven demons are cast out of our hearts. People who have experienced Jesus’ love can devote their entire lives to doing God’s work.
Mary Magdalene represents us sinners who became Jesus’ bride. But this is not to say that Mary Magdalene became Jesus’ wife and had his kids. That is part of the heretical non-canonical literature. However, we as the Church are Jesus’ bride. In the garden of Eden, the relationship between Adam and Eve shows us the relationship of Jesus and the Church. God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. It typifies the death of Jesus Christ. God opened the side of Adam and created the woman. Jesus’ side was pierced and opened, and this created the Church. Adam woke from his sleep and called the woman, “Woman.” Jesus resurrected and called Mary Magdalene “Woman.” In Rev. 21, the bride is ready for the wedding, prepared and adorned.
Conclusion: The blessing of the holy of holies
The Bible describes the relationship between Jesus and the Church as that of a husband and wife. Jesus purpose is to cast out the seven demons from us so that we can become His bride. The spiritual warfare between Jerusalem and Babylon, between the bride and the harlot. The victory is won through repentance, the blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Mary looked into Jesus’ tomb, but she saw two angels. This typifies the Holy of holies. The graveyard was transformed into a garden of life. She came to see the dead Jesus, but met Him alive. The deadness of her life was transformed through Christ, and instead of becoming a witness of Jesus’ death, she became a witness of Jesus’ life. May we also be witnesses of Jesus life through repentance and asking God to drive out the seven demons from our hearts.