Sermons

St. Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:1–2, 10–18)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Seven demons. Not just one, or even two, but seven demons. That’s how many demons Jesus cast out of Mary Magdalene. He rescued her from the power and kingdom of the devil. From her prostituting herself, and her many other sins, He also saved her. He’s yet to save her body from death. He will, though. We know that from her. She saw Him crucified, she saw Him dead and buried, and she didn’t just see an empty tomb. No, she saw Him—alive! Easter in July! We celebrate and rejoice on St. Mary Magdalene’s day because she’s a picture of your own salvation.

She’s a picture of your salvation because JESUS SAVES YOU LIKE HE DID MARY MAGDALENE.

((I. Jesus does the same things now that He did then.))

It’s pretty simple that JESUS SAVES YOU LIKE HE DID MARY MAGDALENE. But we so quickly forget that Jesus does the same things now that He did then. We think that He should be doing different things, or that things are different now that He’s ascended. Well, certain things are different, like we heard last week—no more feeding miracles, for example. But His saving is still exactly the same.

Jesus rescues from sin—Mary and you. He shed His blood and died for her, of course, just like you. But He delivered His cross-won redemption and forgiveness to her as well. He spoke to her the forgiveness of sins in Luke 7. He absolved her. With His Word He delivered the “It is finished” to her beforehand, just like He did for you today, and whenever else you receive His absolution.

Jesus rescues from the devil. Clearly did that for Mary. Seven demons—gone! Power of the devil—gone! In the kingdom of the devil—not any more! So also you, just as clearly, just as much by Jesus. He cast out Mary’s demons with a Word, and He drove satan away from you, too, with a Word—water and Word. Holy Baptism brought you out of the devil’s kingdom into Jesus and His Father’s eternal Kingdom.

This is why we should rejoice on St. Mary Magdalene’s day! The means Jesus uses are just a little different today than they were then, but JESUS really does SAVE YOU LIKE HE DID MARY MAGDALENE. So, we should repent of our forgetfulness and thinking the Lord is or should be doing something different for us than He did for Mary.

((II. Mary’s end is your end, too.))

Since JESUS SAVES YOU LIKE HE DID MARY MAGDALENE, it really does mean that Mary is a picture of what’s in store for you. Here we get Jesus’ rescuing from death. Her body hasn’t been rescued from death yet, but Jesus will do it. Our Gospel text tells us that, Mary’s story tells us that. She saw Jesus alive. She fell down before Him. The seven demons no longer clung to her—Jesus cast them from her. Enlivened by Him, she clung in full trust and confidence to Him on whom the Seven-fold Spirit rested without measure.

Mary’s story ends here in the Scriptures, and your story ends like hers. Yes, you’ll die. Sooner or later. But you’ll die. But Mary seeing Jesus alive tells us is that He has the power over death. Mary trusted that Jesus would raise her body from the dead. You can have the same confidence. Jesus will raise you from the dead. You will be enlivened, resurrected by Him. You’ll see Him face to face. You’ll also worship before Him body and soul. Just like Mary.

You know this not just from Mary’s eye-witness testimony. You can go to the bank on Jesus’ resurrecting you because you’ve been baptized into His death and resurrection, you’ve received His cross-won “It is finished” in the absolution, and you receive His body and blood that was crucified and raised for you and your forgiveness and eternal life.

Before that time, though, your story gets filled up with more Jesus, just like Mary’s did. Set free from the demons, she was rescued from her prostitution, and so she was no longer dead while she lived, but she lived while she died. She died to self to love those around her, caring for Jesus and His disciples from her own means. So also our lives—filled up with Jesus and His love—overflow in loving kindness toward everyone: caring for them instead of casting them aside; building them up instead of setting them up for failure; loving them, cherishing them instead of, well, not. Jesus enlivens you to love everyone you see Jesus much. If it’s not Jesus much, that’s not only sin, but also rejection of Jesus. We need to die to that sort of living because it’s not living. Living is only living when loving one another, especially other Christians Jesus much. Anything else is just existing, dead while living.

((Conclusion.))

Seven demons. That’s how many demons Jesus cast out of Mary Magdalene. We celebrate and rejoice on St. Mary Magdalene’s day because she’s a picture of your own salvation. JESUS SAVES YOU LIKE HE DID MARY MAGDALENE. All your enemies (your sin, your lovelessness, your death, even the devil himself) were all taken care of by Jesus just like they were for Mary. He died and rose. He baptizes you, absolves you, and delivers His body and blood to you.

He sets you free, like He did Mary. He makes you selfless not selfish, loving not loveless, alive not dead. You could cling to your lack of love for others, really cling to death, spreading it to your relationships, but what does that get you?

Jesus loves you like He loved Mary—Jesus much. JESUS SAVES YOU LIKE HE DID MARY MAGDALENE. Water. Absolution. Body and blood. There His saving. There His love. For you and through you to others, too, until the chapter of this life closes, and your story continues forever face to face with Jesus.

INI + AMEN.

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