Thursday, February 9, 2017
a sinner's tears
St John Chrysostom gives us much to ponder today in A Year with the Church Fathers.
He tells us about Mary Magdalene. How she wept at the tomb of Our Lord when she found the body missing. And how the angels and Jesus shared with her the best news man has ever heard.
A quick note, though... there is some question as to who exactly Mary Magdalene was. We know for sure that she had seven demons driven out of her. We know she was at the cross, and she was at the tomb when the greatest news ever told was announced. But there are many throughout history who have believed that she was the penitent woman who washed Jesus's feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She is called a "sinner" in that story, and that usually connoted a prostitute. But wait! There's more. Throughout history it has ALSO been thought that this was the same Mary who lived with her sister Martha and her brother Lazarus! I had no idea. Now, it's possible that they were different Mary's. But there is no reason from Scripture to think so, and there are many reasons to think they were the same person. See this webpage for more detail.
I do love the idea that the first person that was told the greatest news ever told was a prostitute. It shows the depth and richness and beauty of God's love and grace and mercy.
But let's go back to the news itself. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead changed everything. Have you thought about that? It reversed the evil process of corruption and decay and entropy that had ruled the universe for thousands of years. Jesus's redemption didn't just redeem mankind... it redeemed the whole of creation. And we will see the final fruits of that redemption at the end of time, when His kingdom comes in full.
But when we think of our loved ones, who will inevitably face the grave... the knowledge that that is not the end, that they will be brought back to life again never to face corruption or decay again... well, that's some amazing news.
Enough to take away all of our tears.
God, thank You for conquering sin and death... and for announcing it to a sinner like me.