Matthew 28:5-6 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”
Rejected by my family. Abandoned by my friends. An outcast, that’s what they called me. No one understood the loneliness. No one knew the pain deep in my soul. The physical pain was almost unbearable. But the emotional turmoil took me to the edge of insanity and back.
My bizarre behavior alienated me from my family. I was alone. No one would fight for me. No one was FOR me. Everyone shunned me. I could hear what they said, as they passed by on the opposite side of the road.
“Don’t go near her! She’s possessed by demons! She’s dangerous!”
They were afraid of me because of the seven demons that possessed my body. The animalistic noises and guttural sounds that came out of my mouth would drive even the most courageous person away.
The demons caused me to have a great disdain for anything religious or sacred. I often hissed at the Pharisees and Jewish religious leaders as they walked by. Acting under Satan, these demons afflicted my body with disease. Being unclean, they tempted me with unclean thoughts. I was filthy in every sense of the word. Because I was unable to care for myself, I wandered the streets, my hair a disgusting, dirty, matted tangle. Dirt covered by face and hands, and was caked under my nails.
I had no control over my own body. Some people tried to subdue me with chains and shackles. The unclean spirits completely ripped the chains off me! But I wasn’t free…
I was a slave in bondage to the demons. A prisoner.
I knew, deep in my soul, that I was not an outcast. I knew I belonged. But how? Where?
And then I saw Him. They said He was the Messiah, King of the Jews. He came to save His people. Could He save me? Was there anyone who could save me?
Someone brought me to Him. The demons had full control of me at that time. I was thrashing wildly, hissing, screaming. But He didn’t walk away. With great compassion and love, He spoke, and the demons left. (Luke 8:2)
My body shook violently as one by one the evil spirits went away. I was spent: physically unable to move; emotionally unwilling to believe there was hope for me.
He healed me! My life changed. No longer were there demons, darkness and evil. Now there was abundant joy and light! For the first time in my life, I had HOPE! I became a follower of this man Jesus. He was my Savior! I would gladly give my life in service to Him!
But He gave His life for me. The Jews, Pharisees and religious leaders had Him crucified. I was at the cross with His mother Mary and other women who had ministered to Him. I watched Him die. It felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest. I am the one who should be dying on that cross! This Man had saved me, and I could do nothing to help Him!
After a few days, I went to the tomb early one morning. I needed time alone to grieve. When I got there, the stones had been rolled away. The tomb was empty. (John 20:1)
I stood there, alone, weeping. I looked, but I didn’t see Jesus anywhere. My heart was broken. There was a hole in it, that only He could fill. I had finally found a place where I wasn’t rejected. I had finally found a family in His followers. They loved me in spite of my past. HE loved me in spite of my past. What would become of us all? (John 20:11-16)
Then I turned and saw a man standing there. I did not realize it was Him.
He asked me, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
I thought He was the gardener, and begged Him to tell me where they had taken Jesus.
And then, He called my name, “Mary!”
And I realized…He wasn’t gone. He had been there all along.
Are you looking for Jesus this Christmas?