Pastor Steve With
I’d like to describe the relationships between Three Mary’s, how they ended up at the cross of Christ and what Easter means to each of them: So let’s open with John 19:25,
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” John 19:25-27
In a historical context this is the Son of God, dying for the sins of all of Us, bidding farewell to His earthly family. On a more personal note he is making arrangements with one of His closest friends for the future care of His mother. And while we have this close-up in view, have you noticed yet that these three women, who are at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ darkest hour and all three are named Mary?
A. Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
- Mother of our Lord : Lived in Nazareth, engaged to a Joseph, Conceived a child by the Holy Spirit, Joseph took Mary as his wife and Jesus was born in Bethlehem: Manger, Wisemen, Shepherds:
“The Word became flesh & dwelt among us.” John 1:14
- Mary and her family, lived for a time in Egypt but eventually settled back into life at Nazareth, their home town.
- Teaching in the Temple: 12 years later Mary & Joseph anxiously searched for Jesus thinking He was lost, but eventually they found Him in the temple and they were amazed at His Teaching.
“…After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem…Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers…His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother (Mary) said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”…“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”…Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” Luke 2:41-50
- Water to Wine: Mary did not follow Jesus on His journeys but we do see them together at a Wedding early in His ministry.
“The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:3-5
- Mary was Amazed: By all her Son said and did, “Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Lk 2:19
- The Final Scene where we see Jesus and His mother together is at the cross where He tenderly Gives over the responsibility for her care to John, His beloved Apostle.
- We see Mary one other time and it is after Jesus’ ascension when she is in the upper room along with the Apostles, family members, and other disciples (Acts 1:14).
B. Mary, the Sister of Mary and Jesus’ Aunt
- Mary’s Sister Mary: followed Jesus early on in the Story. She was at the Cross and in the Upper Room with the Apostles after the Resurrection. “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.” Matthew 27:61
- The Bible definitely says that they are sisters and mentions that this second Mary was the wife of Clopas. Some ancient manuscripts have margin notes saying that this Clopas (who was also called Alphaeus) was the brother of Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. This would mean that two brothers (Joseph and Clopas) married two sisters who either had similar names.
- In addition to this, Mark tells us (15:47) that she was the mother of James (the less) and Joseph.
- Mary the 2nd throughout the New Testament.
“Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph)…” Matthew 27:54-56
- Mary’s Sister Mary, followed Jesus early on in the Story. She was at the Cross and in the Upper Room with the Apostles after the Resurrection. “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.” Matthew 27:61
- She was also present at the crucifixion, as we read in John, and was at the empty tomb on resurrection morning (Matt 28:1) having brought spices to properly bury the body.
- She was among the women who reported the resurrection of Jesus to the Apostles and is probably among the people mentioned by Luke in Acts 1:14 where He lists those in the upper room with the Apostles. At one point he mentions “the women”, referring to those women who had followed and ministered to Jesus during His ministry.
- Mary was Supporting and Comforting her Sister as her Nephew and Lord was being crucified. (John 19)
C. Mary Magdalene, Healed by Jesus
- The 3rd Mary mentioned is Mary Magdalene. Magdalene is probably a reference to where she came from (Magdala was a town in the region of Galilee where Jesus was from).
I. Healed by Jesus: Mary had been among a group of women who had been Healed by Jesus of various illnesses and possession.
“Along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.” Luke 8:2
- Followed Jesus: This Mary was part of that group of women who followed and ministered to Jesus, and as Luke writes, ”…many others who were contributing from their own resources to Support Jesus and his disciples.” Luke 8:3
- At the Foot of the Cross: with the other two Marys at the end of Jesus’ life on the cross.
a. Mary on Easter Morning: “Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.” John 20:1
b. Mary Runs: “She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the
“Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him! Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb.” John 20:2-3
2. Mary Went Back: After this she returns with these two Apostles to the tomb and when they depart, she is left alone weeping. “Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “ Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” John 20:11-16
- Jesus then comforts her and tells her to return and tell the Apostles that she has seen the risen Lord…
“Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” John 20:18
II. MARYS AND EASTER
- It is interesting that there were 3 Marys at the foot of the cross at the foot of the cross & at the Resurrection. Interesting because they had the Same Name and were Present at the most significant events in history… ? What is also of note is that even though they had the same name, the way that each of them eventually came to be there was very different:
? Mary, the mother of Jesus, came through a Divine Call. She was tuned into God from the beginning. We can refuse to respond or not desire to know God but some are more in tune w/ spiritual things.
- God, through the angel Gabriel and through a mighty miracle, called upon her to believe. Of course, she had to submit to God’s will and accept as true the calling she had, but hers was a call directly from God.
- Starting with her sense of amazement as she watched this child grow, to the witness of His first miracle at Cana, Mary followed the path from divinely called servant to faithful disciple in the upper room at Pentecost. The prophet Simeon told her that one day a sword would pierce her soul, and on that day at the cross she felt that pain as her Son, However in 3 Days she experienced that 1st Easter morning of her Son!!! She was able to see Her Son Alive!!!
? Mary the Aunt of Jesus, was there by Association: She believed because of others who Drew her to Jesus. This is the way most people come to Him; they are Invited and Helped by someone else: a friend, a relative, a spouse, a child…
- She was closely connected to Jesus’ family (some scholars think that the two families shared a home after Joseph died). Her son was a disciple, then an Apostle of the Lord. Through her close association with the family she became an early disciple, already ministering to and supporting the work of Jesus and the Apostles when He began His early work in Galilee.
- Our last glimpse of her is that of being among the women to report the resurrection of the Christ, and then awaiting the grand day of Pentecost with the Apostles in the upper room.
? Mary Magdalene, was there by an Encounter: Jesus took away the Hurt and enabled her to hear the message of Salvation. What must it have been like to be the 1st to see our Resurrected Lord?
- She was a castaway, ill, possessed by demons, beyond hope or help in her society. That she had seven demons says that she was seriously dysfunctional, seriously disconnected emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Jesus personally cast out her demons and brought her back to a right mind, and from that time on she served and supported His ministry along with the other women.
- When you read about her actions after the crucifixion, however, you get the sense that she had a strong character and was a leader among the women:
- She reports to Peter and John and then is joined by the other women.
- She returns to the tomb with the Apostles.
- She speaks to the Angels.
- She sees Jesus first.
- She’s the one who gives the message to the Apostles that He is raised and will ascend to the Father.
Her initial contact with the mercy of the Lord drew her to follow Him not only to the cross, but beyond the cross to the tomb where she was rewarded by His glorious resurrection.
III. WHAT WE LEARN FROM THE MARYS
- Mary Jesus’ Mother teaches us that Faithfulness to God’s Call is the way to Live and the way to experience Rich Blessing.
- Mary Jesus’ Aunt teaches us that we need to Follow Our Lord, Serve those in Need and Help those who are on the Road with us.
- Mary Magdalene teaches us that Jesus can Heal us, Give us New Life and Include us in the Greatest of Events.
- In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Paul explains that the faithful (including the three Marys) as well as you and I will rise out of the grave to a glorious eternity when our Savior Jesus returns.