Lesson 23 | Sabbath, 5 December 2020
Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany are the same person. Mary means “strong and robust.”
“And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.” Matthew 27:61.
“But the Saviour never passed by one soul, however sunken in sin, who was willing to receive the precious truths of heaven. To publicans and harlots His words were the beginning of a new life. Mary Magdalene, out of whom He cast seven devils, was the last at the Saviour’s tomb and the first whom He greeted in the morning of His resurrection.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 129.
A sinner is converted
- Whom did Jesus love in Bethany? What did Mary Magdalene delight to do when Jesus visited in Lazarus, Martha, and her home? What example was this for us today?
John 11:1, 5 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha…. 5Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Luke 10:39, 42 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word…. 42But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
“So pained was Christ by the misapprehension in His own home that it was a relief to Him to go where it did not exist. There was one home that He loved to visit, the home of Lazarus, and Mary, and Martha; for in the atmosphere of faith and love His spirit had rest.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 326.
- From what was Mary Magdalene healed? How was she considered in her youth?
Luke 8:2; 7:37 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils…. 7:37And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment.
“When to human eyes her case appeared hopeless, Christ saw in Mary capabilities for good. He saw the better traits of her character. The plan of redemption has invested humanity with great possibilities, and in Mary these possibilities were to be realized. Through His grace she became a partaker of the divine nature. The one who had fallen, and whose mind had been a habitation of demons, was brought very near to the Saviour in fellowship and ministry.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 568.
Death and resurrection
- What terrible test did the sisters Mary and Martha face? What did Mary do when she heard that Jesus had arrived in their village?
John 11:11-14, 28, 29 These things said he: and after that he saith to them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead…. 28And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
“Did the Saviour by His own choice avoid the home of His suffering friends? Apparently Mary and Martha and the dying Lazarus were left alone. But they were not alone. Christ beheld the whole scene, and after the death of Lazarus the bereaved sisters were upheld by His grace. Jesus witnessed the sorrow of their rent hearts, as their brother wrestled with his strong foe, death. He felt every pang of anguish, as He said to His disciples, ‘Lazarus is dead.’ But Christ had not only the loved ones at Bethany to think of; He had the training of His disciples to consider. They were to be His representatives to the world, that the Father’s blessing might embrace all. For their sake He permitted Lazarus to die. Had He restored him from illness to health, the miracle that is the most positive evidence of His divine character, would not have been performed.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 528.
- What did Mary say when she saw Jesus? Nevertheless, what great miracle did He perform in Bethany before many eyewitnesses?
John 11:32, 33, 39, 43-45 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled…. 39Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days…. 43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 45Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
“On hearing the message, Mary rose hastily, and with an eager look on her face left the room. Thinking that she had gone to the grave to weep, the mourners followed her. When she reached the place where Jesus was waiting, she knelt at His feet, and said with quivering lips, ‘Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.’ The cries of the mourners were painful to her; for she longed for a few quiet words alone with Jesus. But she knew of the envy and jealousy cherished in the hearts of some present against Christ, and she was restrained from fully expressing her grief….
“‘And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.’ His voice, clear and penetrating, pierces the ear of the dead. As He speaks, divinity flashes through humanity. In His face, which is lighted up by the glory of God, the people see the assurance of His power. Every eye is fastened on the entrance to the cave. Every ear is bent to catch the slightest sound. With intense and painful interest all wait for the test of Christ’s divinity, the evidence that is to substantiate His claim to be the Son of God, or to extinguish the hope forever.
“There is a stir in the silent tomb, and he who was dead stands at the door of the sepulcher. His movements are impeded by the graveclothes in which he was laid away, and Christ says to the astonished spectators, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ Again they are shown that the human worker is to cooperate with God. Humanity is to work for humanity. Lazarus is set free, and stands before the company, not as one emaciated from disease, and with feeble, tottering limbs, but as a man in the prime of life, and in the vigor of a noble manhood. His eyes beam with intelligence and with love for his Saviour. He casts himself in adoration at the feet of Jesus.”–The Desire of Ages, pp. 533, 536.
- What great service did Mary Magdalene perform for Jesus in gratitude for the restoration of her brother and her own forgiveness? Who spiritually represented the precious ointment of spikenard that filled the house with a beautiful fragrance?
John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling smell.
2 Corinthians 2:14, 15 Now thanks be to God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.
“No other anointing would Jesus receive, for the Sabbath was nigh at hand, and they kept the Sabbath according to the commandment…. The desire that Mary had to do this service for her Lord was of more value to Christ than all the spikenard and precious ointment in the world, because it expressed her appreciation of the world’s Redeemer. It was the love of Christ that constrained her.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 252.
- When she did not recognize Jesus in the garden after His resurrection, whom did Mary think the second Adam was? What message did He give to her, the first evangelist?
John 20:15-18 Jesus said to her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16Jesus saith to her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith to him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
“Mary turns away even from the words of the angels. As she does so, another voice addresses her: ‘Woman, why weepest thou?’ Through her tear-dimmed eyes, Mary sees one whom she supposes to be the gardener. ‘Sir,’ she says, ‘if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary.’ At the familiar voice, she turns to Him. She knows now that it is no stranger who speaks. Before her she sees the living Saviour. She springs toward Him, as if to embrace His feet, saying, ‘Rabboni.’ But the Saviour raises His hand and says, ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My God, and your God.” –Daughters of God, p. 69.
“When Mary Magdalene told them she had seen the Lord, she repeated the call to the meeting in Galilee. And a third time the message was sent to them. After He had ascended to the Father, Jesus appeared to the other women, saying, ‘All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshiped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 793.
The great resurrections
- List the three resurrections that will occur at the end of time. What differences exist between them? How is Jesus Christ connected to these resurrections?
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
John 5:28, 29; 11:25 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation…. 11:25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
“One of the most solemn and yet most glorious truths revealed in the Bible is that of Christ’s second coming, to complete the great work of redemption. To God’s pilgrim people, so long left to sojourn in ‘the region and shadow of death,’ a precious, joy-inspiring hope is given in the promise of His appearing, who is ‘the resurrection and the life,’ to ‘bring home again His banished.’ The doctrine of the second advent is the very keynote of the Sacred Scriptures….
“During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. The apostle Paul points to this judgment as an event that follows the second advent…. In union with Christ they [the redeemed] judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.” –Maranatha, pp. 13, 335.