Lessons from a Broken Woman
The Story of How One Unlikely Person Helped Change the World
All Scripture references from the King James Version of the Bible
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
A name, it doesn’t seem like much until you know the story behind it. And the name in this story is one that would help to alter the course of mankind.
She was irredeemable. A wasted life that had opened herself up to satanic influences. No one could help her. Until Jesus found her, called her name, and changed her life. In six words the Bible reveals her story of years of struggle, turmoil, and pain, “out of whom went seven devils.” She follows Him and what happens afterward is even more incredible! Her name was Mary Magdalene.
Three Lessons from a Broken Woman Who Helped Change the World
- Don’t Forget Where You Came From
- You Are Not a Non-essential Christian
- Stay as Close as You Can to Him
1. Don’t Forget Where You Came From
Sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and charges you more than you want to pay. This is the lesson that Mary Magdalene learned. Her life was completely ruined by the devil and sin.
Your condition doesn’t seem so bad until you reach the point of being sick of it. So she cracked the door of faith and the truth started pulling her in. All she needed was to meet Jesus. He calmed a life and mind of total chaos. How could she not follow Him?
His Grace is Greater Than Your Sin
Jesus calls the broken to salvation. Do you remember what it was like to be broken?
There is this song that our choir used to sing and some of the words go like this: “He took me out of the mire and put me into the choir.”
If you know Jesus, you have an amazing redemption. You were worthless when He found you. But he bought you with His blood anyway!
I remember the moment I realized how sinful I was and needed saving. He made everything different. After I got saved, I just remember thinking about how I really didn’t belong with God’s people. I was just so unworthy because of all things that had been in my heart. But I belong because of Him.
Sometimes, you can lose sight of where you came from and how much of His Grace it took to put you into the family of God. You are special, you are valuable, and your life is meaningful as a Christian. It’s not because of how great you are but how wonderful His grace is.
I am nothing but yet Jesus loved me so much that He reached all the way down and pulled me out of the sin I was in to make me a Christian. The only thing I have to be proud of is his grace and forgiveness.
But you can forget where you came from and start looking in the mirror as if you are such a great Christian. When the truth is that you are nothing without Him. I have no right to look down on ANYONE. To be honest, without Him I would be right back where He found me. I would be lost, undone, full of sin, and corrupt.
Where Would You Be Had Jesus not Found You?
It can do you good to stop and think about where you would be right now had Jesus not saved you. So where would you be?
Some people know right away because God just pulled them straight out of some things. I think there are others who grew up in church or were saved at an early age. To them, it may be more of a mystery.
I don’t know where I would be but I would not be enjoying the blessing of God in my life. I would be living a meaningless life without Him. I can’t imagine going through life without knowing the joy of having Him in it.
What’s Your Story?
Just like Mary Magdalene, there is a backstory to your life when Jesus found you. So what is your story? It would be a shame if you died and the people close to you had to try to remember when you got saved. What if they had to sit around and try to figure it out?
This is why you have to tell your story. This is why your story matters. Because your story can have the power to influence someone else coming to faith.
It’s like having the cure to cancer but never telling anyone about it.
Write down your testimony
- Long-form: Write down all the details like when, where, how, and why. Read over it a few times. This is the long-form of your testimony. This is how you memorialize your salvation. You put it into words that you can share. Offer to share it with your family and friends, your Sunday School class, or your church.
- Short-form: Now condense your testimony down to just a few sentences or even just a couple. You may not always be able to share all the details of your salvation with someone, but you can give a brief summary. For instance, “I was a rebellious teenager and Jesus changed my life.”
Your testimony is the most powerful way that you have to witness to someone. So you should practice sharing it. Know and own your story of faith.
2. You Are Not a Non-Essential Christian
There is this talk right now about what places are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank God our president finally said that churches are essential on Friday (May 22nd, 2019). By the way, it should have been that way from the beginning because of this little document called the Bill of Rights!
I think that people in the church consider some Christians more essential than others. Luke 8:3 reveals something about how Mary Magdalene ministered to and for Jesus. They used their money, talents, and abilities to help Jesus reach more people.
And that is really what the church is all about. It’s each person taking what they have and using it to reach more people with the Gospel. It’s each person doing what they can make more disciples for Jesus.
God did not design the church to have big I’s and little u’s! But I think that is the kind of model that today’s church has adopted. It’s like the church is filled with non-essential people and few essential people. You know what I am saying, the ones that the church can’t make it without. The big I’s! Everyone else is just interchangeable.
But there it is, as plain as day in the Bible. People that didn’t seem that important making some of the most important impacts for the Gospel.
Does God Really Have a “Shelf” for Christians?
When I hear preachers use those words it scares me. I start thinking, “am I on the shelf, because I am not doing something as important as someone else?” And then I start thinking, “What did I do for God to put me on the shelf like this?”
I believe (this is my opinion not the Bible, but I do believe the Bible supports this idea) that God does not have a shelf for Christians. If you are on a shelf you made that shelf and put yourself there. If you are in a position where you cannot serve the Lord, it is all of your own makings. Because there is no such thing as a non-essential Christian.
Serving the Lord May Look Different for You
Here are some unlikely people who God uses in His Church
- Single People. Just because you are single doesn’t mean you can’t serve the Lord.
- Divorced People. Just because your family structure looks different from other people doesn’t mean that you are useless for Christ.
- People Who Have Made Mistakes. Just because you have made mistakes doesn’t mean that God can longer use you to do something for Him. To be completely honest, if all of our mistakes were publicly known, none of us could serve God with that mentality.
- Disabled People. For some people, just making it to church is a challenge. It’s just not as easy for them to jump out of bed, get dressed, and drink a cup of coffee. But what you CAN do is extremely important to God.
The Bible gives qualifications for the office of Pastor (Bishop, Elder) and Deacon. After that, you just have to be saved and a part of a local body of believers. I challenge you to show me differently from the Bible.
Every Christian is Important
The fact is, what you do for the Lord is important to the Lord and to the church. That’s right, every Christian is ESSENTIAL to the Church. You may not have the opportunities that other people have but that doesn’t make you less important.
Serve Where You Are with the Means that You Have
What you do for God matters
When I was in Bible College I had this professor, his name was Dan Truax. He had been a missionary to the Sierra Dessert for many years. He was older and not physically able to serve there anymore. He would make the most radical statements sometimes. Like he once said that all the churches in our area except for one should close, everyone should serve in that church, and the preachers should go to the mission field. One of my friends became irate over this and tried to talk some sense into him.
But I think he had more sense than what we all thought. In our area we probably have a hundred churches who believe almost the same thing all within driving distance of each other. Then there are areas with no Gospel witness at all.
It’s like no one is content serving the Lord in their church. They have to become a big I somewhere even it means carving that I in a spot down the road. It’s like everyone is trying to be the chief and no one wants to be the Indians. No wonder churches are suffering!
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
There are too many people striving to be important in the Church, and not enough striving to serve. This hurts the church overall because at the end of the day little gets done to advance the mission of the Gospel.
Don’t be deceived, what you have to offer the Lord is valuable to Him and the Church.
Learn to serve God where you are at with what you have.
Even if that serving looks different than other people, serve Him with all you have. God designed the Church to function with each of Her members serving. Find the things that you can do for God and do them.
Live Like You Will Wish You Would Have when You Will Face Jesus
A couple of years ago I did an intense study of the Bema Seat. It’s the time when Christians will finally stand face to face with Jesus. What surprised me the most are the things that are taught about it as fact, that are, in fact, not in the Bible! But one thing is for sure that you will face Jesus one day and you will either be ashamed or excited to see Him.
So you should live your life with that moment in view. I am doing what I am doing for Christ because I want to stand before him and not have to bow my head in shame because I have nothing tangible from life to offer to Him for eternity.
3. Stay as Close as You Can to Him
This is where the story of Mary Magdalene gets real!
She was with Jesus-
- When He Was on the Cross.
She was watching while Jesus was on the cross.
There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
She was even at the foot of the Cross
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
- When He was Buried.
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.
- When He Resurrected from the Grave
In Luke 23:55-24:10 it was Mary Magdalene and the other women who were there.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
There is a reward for staying close to him: She was the first person to see Him after He rose from the Grave.
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Staying Close to Him brings a Commission.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
You have to talk to Him to be close to him.
I can tell when I have not been talking to Him. When He seems like a stranger to me. When I can’t find Him.
There is this song entitled I Talked to Him Today it is based on the above story about Mary Magdalene. These are the words of the chorus:
But I talked to Him today, and my cares all fell away
He made me feel like life had just begun
He said all of my trials can be turned into triumph
Through the victory that He’s already won
And I talked to him today and the comfort that He gave
Filled me with a desire to tell the world, yet on Calvary, he died
But right now He is alive, I know because I talked to him today.
Have you talked to him today?
Copyright 2020 by Jason R Parham
About the Author
Hi, I am Jason R Parham, a passionate Christian, husband, father, writer, teacher, and preacher. I teach the Fixer Upper Marriage Class, host the Fixer Upper Marriage Podcast, and write every chance I get! I am so passionate about the Bible that I TRY to live my life by it and love helping others do the same! No, I don’t have all the answers, but I serve a God who does! We are in this together, so let me help you work through life with Bible principles. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or email.