It’s easy to feel unseen in this world.
I think this feeling contributes to at least 60% of our mental health issues. That’s me making a wild guess, but think on a few things and let them ruminate. Look closer with me, if you will…
Think of those moments that people feel invisible as children: in a classroom, in a family, lying in bed at night, on a playground.
Think of the time spent as a teenager or a young adult searching and praying for a friendship that holds unwavering acceptance.
Think of the mental energy we expend on any given day, wishing we were just a little bit smarter, a little bit more put together, a little bit more thoughtful…a little bit more.
This world can be a harsh landscape, even in the best of childhoods, given the best privileges, and treated with the utmost grace.
Now think of all the people who do not have that.
Every time I encounter Mary Magdalene in Scripture, she appears to me as one of the least of these — lacking support, lacking friendship, lacking resources, lacking truth, carrying the weight of her baggage around her neck like an albatross. Invisible to the world around her.
Let’s look closer.
First read the resurrection account from Mark 16:9-11 Look for any details you can find about Mary. What healing had Christ brought into her life? What struggle may still have been there?
9 [[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
Not one, not two, not three, but seven demons. I want to lift the pain of that from her, but praise the Lord I don’t need to. Jesus did. He healed. He sent every last one of those demons in her life away, far away, gone. He saw her. He looked closer at her struggle and granted healing and restoration from years of torment and struggle. That’s Who Jesus is. That is what He does for each of us. Whatever pain of the past, whatever pressing struggles of the present, He sees and heals through His Word and His touch—not invisible touch, but very real touch. Think about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This is the same real present healing offered to us, that Jesus offered to Mary besieged by her own demons.
Now look at another account from Luke 8:1-3 for me:
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them] out of their means.
What continued healing did Christ offer in this passage?
Was Mary alone? Far from it.
Also, some women…
Christ brings healing in a million ways into our lives, and this week, as we study resurrection, we are going to look closer at some of them.
Healing and restoration describe a far broader concept than we might see at first glance. We all need some healing and restoration— healing for relationships, healing in our hearts, healing for our health, healing for a more secure identity, restoration where there was discord, restoration to trust in whatever God is doing in our lives, restoration to walk in truth and love this day, and the next, and the next.
For the final passage today, look closer at John 20:11-18. In this awesome resurrection account, we see Mary look closer, angels looking closer in Mary’s need, and Jesus’s challenge and fulfillment of really, truly seeing.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
Jesus heals in His resurrection, once and for all. He turns death, real and metaphorical, onto its head. It holds no power. Mary, and each of us just like her, is healed by the power of Christ’s sacrifice and the new life He gives in the resurrection. He also offers a challenge. Not a heavy law, you-better-get-it-together challenge, but more an offering –
“Do not cling to me…but go…”
Jesus tells Mary to go and tell, yes, but doesn’t that include looking closer? Looking into the lives of their community of disciples and all those around them and saying, “He is doing something else! He is healing! He is restoring!”?
We can miss so much when we look down or look in, only at our own frustrations, annoyances, or struggles. Christ continues healing by giving us community to walk this life together. He gives brothers and sisters to share the Resurrection Joy with, and a world to proclaim it to.
He looked closer at you. He sees you. Even while you weep, as Mary wept, in the midst of it, He reveals an empty tomb and Hope through His Word and through people to bring that Word to us. Look closer — where has He healed you?
Also today, let Him look closer through you. Watch Him see, heal, and restore. Be the Word bearer, share Hope and Life today. He sees you. He sees us. Look closer – know that you are seen.
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