Last week I spoke about how Mary must have felt being the first person to see Jesus after he died. This week we took it further and delved into how she felt when she tried to share that good news with others, meditating on this verse:
“It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Luke 24:10-11
what’s the story this week?
Have you ever had that moment of complete excitement – you want to share some incredible news with someone, but its coming out all fast and gibberishy, and your words are getting muddled up and you can’t seem to catch your breath?! Welcome to this exact moment in Mary Magdelene’s life. Mary had already witnessed the great power that Jesus held when he ridded her of the seven demons that tormented her life, but now he has done something even more incredible and actually risen from the dead!!
Mary runs with her women friends who had also witnessed it to tell Jesus’ best friends in the entire world – sure that they will share in how exciting this news is! They run into the room, all talking one over the other, screaming in delight and giggling, excited to share, but words mixing up amongst them.
When the men in the room finally manage to grasp what it is the women are babbling about, they don’t jump up in excitement too. No. Instead, there is a snort of derision. A dismissing laugh sounds out rather than an excited one, and that all too familiar “what are these women going on about” resounds around the room. They don’t believe them.
In all the chaos, confusion and excitement, Mary’s story isn’t celebrated but instead they say it’s nonsense. This word has been repeating in my head all week as I have meditated on it. There are two possible meanings for this:
- Spoken words that have no meaning or make no sense
- Foolish or unacceptable behaviour
The word nonsense can also be used to show strong disagreement – something the disciples certainly show in this weeks verse. Whether the disciples think that what they are saying makes no sense at all (I mean – how can it? Jesus died right in front of them!), that the women are acting in a foolish way in saying it or they just out right disagree, this is not the reception that Mary was hoping for. The disciples all sit stock still ignoring this potentially life changing news. I am sure that must have been heartbreaking for Mary.
I asked the question in our Facebook Group about how we feel when we are accused of talking nonsense. People said infuriated and annoyed that they weren’t listening properly. Perhaps this was what Mary felt like, as the joy and excitement turned to anger that they didn’t understand or believe them.
our message is foolishness
It says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.“. Our meditation verse and the reaction to Mary’s amazing news reminded me of this verse, as not everyone will greet the new of Jesus coming back to life as good news. Even now, people think we are talking nonsense when we talk about the gospel – they think we are foolish to believe it and maybe you get snorts of derision and dismissing laughter. But just remember, that we know the truth. Mary Magdelene knew the truth back then – she knew what she had seen with her own two eyes even if the disciples didn’t, and she clung to that. We need to cling to the gospel and what we know to be the truth even when we are met with calls of “Nonsense!!”.
In the verse after, Luke 24:12, we see that Mary’s news did impact on one person. Peter obviously didn’t want to chance that it was nonsense and went to see for himself. He saw the potential for truth in what Mary was saying and acted on it. Maybe when you share the gospel, 11 times out of 12 it will be met with hostility and derision. But 1 time it might be welcomed, explored and start a question in someone’s head. Surely it is worth sharing if there is any chance of that happening!
So this week I am encouraged by stepping into the shoes of Mary Magdelene – she was bold and generous with the amazing news she had witnessed, she didn’t change her story even when met with hostility from those she expected to welcome it, and she was the reason that the disciples then met the risen Jesus (she could have just kept it to herself!). So keep sharing the good news of Jesus and know that you are in good company if you get called foolish!
Our final week with Mary Magdelene is now upon us, and to finish off our journey into her life we will be looking at this verse:
“Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher)” John 20:16
Naomi will be leading the discussion this week so do join us in the Facebook Group to share your thoughts and questions!