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The Characters of Lent: Mary Magdalene”
Mark 15:40-47

Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Lent Service VI—April 1, 2009

Matthew reports that, after Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.”  The head disciples, Peter, actually denied his Master three times.

But, of the female followers of Jesus, the Gospels report them accompanying Jesus at every step through his suffering, death and burial:

As he was led out to be crucified, “A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him”;

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene”;

“Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs”;

“In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there”;

“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb”;

“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.  Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes.”

And finally, it was these same women who discovered the empty tomb on Easter morn. 

One of these women was Mary, from the town of Magdala.  Luke tells us, “Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases, including Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.”  Mary had been cured by Jesus, and out of gratitude she gave her life over to serving Jesus.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”  In contrast to the bad example of Peter and other disciples, who denied Jesus and deserted him and fled, Mary Magdalene and these other women are an example for us of steadfast devotion and faithful service to the Lord. 

That is the lesson of the Lenten story of Mary Magdalene.  Amen.

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