INI + AMEN.
Seven demons. Not just one or two but seven. That’s how many demons Jesus cast out of Mary Magdalene. The Son rescued her from the devil’s kingdom and brought her into His and His Father’s Kingdom. From that moment on she followed Him, caring for Him and His Apostles with her own money and possessions. She saw Him die, and she was the first to see Jesus after He came back to life.
What Jesus did for Mary Magdalene isn’t unique to her. He saves you and me from the same things He saved her from. Jesus saves you like He did Mary.
WHEN JESUS SAVES YOU, YOU’LL SEE HIM RESURRECTED FACE TO FACE.
((I. Jesus saves you from devil and sin.))
Jesus does the saving. He saves from the devil’s kingdom. The devil’s kingdom is undone. He had no claim on Jesus. His temptation fell flat. Even seven demons were quickly subdued and cast out by Jesus and Mary Magdalene was free—saved! In the waters of Holy Baptism, you too, were delivered from the devil’s kingdom. For at the Holy Font the Father “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His beloved Son,” “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
So, sin is also taken care of. The power of sin broken! Jesus’ death paid the penalty. His resurrection the victory. Mary was a faithful and true eyewitness of Jesus’ salvation. Her first-hand first-on-the-scene account filled her with joy. She saw Jesus! “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’”
Jesus died. Really died. Jesus is alive. Really alive. We know this first from Mary. She’s an eyewitness that Jesus was “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our” forgiveness.
That’s a big deal. It’s universe changing. It’s eternity changing. It was for Mary. You too! It should be life-changing, but so often it’s not. Actually loving God and putting Him first before anything else. Actually loving those around you as yourself.
In our fear, our doubt, and our sins that plague us, we’re lured back to the devil’s kingdom, and we don’t trust or believe that Jesus is right there in front of us. We’re looking for the wrong thing. Like Mary looking for a dead Jesus. We look for an experience, a feeling, an improvement, but Jesus is right there in front of us FOR US, just like He was for Mary! He was at the Holy Font where He called you by name. He’s in the Absolution where He brings you back into your Baptism. He’s in the Supper of His Body and Blood. He’s in His Word wherever, whenever it’s read, heard, studied, preached, or even sung.
((II. Jesus saves you from death.))
But there’s even more! Because WHEN JESUS SAVES YOU, YOU’LL SEE HIM RESURRECTED FACE TO FACE. That is, you’ll see the resurrected Jesus and you too will be resurrected from the dead. His resurrection from the dead is your resurrection dead.
It can’t be any other way. WHEN JESUS SAVES YOU, He also saves you from death. He conquers death! Death couldn’t hold Him. He destroyed death from the inside out. He was dead, but now He’s alive. He’ll never die again. His standing alive in front of Mary Magdalene, the first eye-witness, proves that. She was face to face with Her dead and resurrected God.
Since you’re in Jesus, baptized into Him, trusting Him, united to Him through His body and blood, you’ll conquer death, too! His empty grave is your empty grave. It was given in your Baptism: “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him,” as Paul says. Now, death is nothing more than a nap. It’s not some fearsome beast. His teeth have been knocked out. He’s as dangerous as a circus lion. Oh, you may fall asleep. Your heart may run out of ticks, but what’s that to your Jesus? Tell me? He died. He lives. He holds the power of death, and will use that power to resurrect you.
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” That’s what awaits you. The Father’s kingdom. Jesus’ kingdom. Your eyes will see Him, just like Mary. Your hands will hug Him, just like Mary’s. Your mouth will praise Him, just like Mary’s. She may have been the first eye-witness, but she’s not the last. On the Last Day and forever you’ll be an eye-witness forever.
WHEN JESUS SAVES YOU, YOU’LL SEE HIM RESURRECTED FACE TO FACE. There’s no reason to fear sin, devil, or death. Jesus conquered them all. His death and resurrection secured the victory. His Word (studied, read, heard, sung), His Water, His Keys, His Body and Blood deliver it to you. All we’re waiting for is our face to face meeting, and until then we’re diligent, religious, faithful in being as close to Him, as close to face to face, as we can get: His Word and His forgiveness ringing in our ears, His Body and Blood in our mouths.
And so He’ll keep His resurrection promise. In flesh and blood you’ll see His flesh and blood. He’s resurrected now. You will be, too. Soon you’ll see. You really will!
INI + AMEN.