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Risen Grace: Restored to Unity

Adam and Eve were created to exist in perfect unity. In Genesis chapter 2, that unity is described as one flesh. We know this to be true because one of the consequences of Eve’s sin was that her husband would rule over her. To be clear, Eve was not created to be in subjugation to Adam – she was created to live in perfect unity with him – in oneness. Perfect unity was God’s original design.

Mary grew up in Magdala, a thriving town on the coast of the Sea of Galilee about three miles from Capernaum. It is likely that Mary had business connections to the dye works and textile factories that provided wealth to the town. And like most thriving cities, there was also an ugly underbelly of vice. The town of Magdala had a dark reputation.

We don’t know anything about Mary’s family, age, marital status or occupation. However, we can safely assume that she had no family obligations, at least no healthy ones because she was able to leave Magdala and follow Jesus. We can also assume she was a woman of means, for she offered consistent support to Jesus’ ministry.

The lack of family obligations may be directly connected to the fact that Jesus had healed her of demonic bondage. We don’t know how that bondage manifested itself in Mary’s life, but when Jesus set her free, her immense gratitude caused her to walk away from Magdala and never look back.

Mary became a leader in Jesus’ ministry. In passages where Mary is mentioned with other women, she always heads the list. The only time she doesn’t is when she is listed with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

John provides one of the most vivid accounts of the resurrection – a fact that shouldn’t surprise us. John was there that day. He was an eyewitness to the events he records in the twentieth chapter of the gospel that bears his name. This is how John begins telling the greatest story of all:

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”

Mary from Magdala, the woman, released from a life of fear and meaninglessness, the woman who had left everything behind to become the lead woman in Jesus ministry, was also the first to continue serving His needs even after His brutal death.

Horrified that someone had moved his body, she immediately tells the disciples. Peter and John run to the tomb and find that it is empty. They believe, and yet there is unbelief, and they head back to where they were staying. But not Mary.

Mary can’t leave. Her grief is inconsolable. At some point, she looks into the tomb and sees two angels. They ask why she is crying. Her response, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him.”

At that moment, she turns around and sees a man she believes to be the caretaker of the cemetery. She says to him, “Sir if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

What Mary doesn’t know is that she has become the very first person to see the risen Christ.

John wasn’t there, and neither was Peter. They had been there just moments before, but for some divine reason, Jesus waited to reveal Himself first to Mary of Magdala. No higher honor has ever been given.

Moments later, Jesus would bestow on her the privilege of being commissioned as the very first evangelist when He directs her to tell the disciples, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

She must have been overcome with joy because John records her breathless report to the disciples as this, “I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!”

Mary of Magdala, a woman, the first to see the risen Savior and the first to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. A woman.

And why not? If we go back to Genesis 3, God curses the serpent that deceived Eve and makes this decree, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

In rising from the dead, Jesus had just administered the final blow that crushed Satan’s head. Then, as His very first victorious act, Jesus set’s “Eve” free from her subjugation. No longer would her “husband” rule over her. In that moment, God offered to “Eve” risen grace – a grace that set her free and restored her to complete unity with “Adam”! Hallelujah!

Risen grace declares that in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” See Galatians 3.

Risen grace also demands that we “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” See Ephesians 5. Mutual submission is the essential ingredient for complete unity. And because Jesus identified complete unity as the highest value for His followers, mutual submission is our greatest calling. See John 17.

“Eve,” Jesus has set you free from the fall and from subjugation. It is His risen grace to you! In restored unity with “Adam,” serve your Lord and Savior and His beautiful Body with all that you have! You are free! Hallelujah!

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