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The Faithful One

New words:
Gamble: To play a game of chance. To play a game in which the losers pay money or other things to the winner.
Glory: Great honor. Bright light shining out from someone or something.
Ordinary. Not unusual. What happens to most people. A thing that is like other things.
Rise (Seen in this story in the forms rose and risen): To come or get up from sitting or laying down. To move up into the air. To come up alive after being dead.

The last few days could not have been worse. Mary Magdalene had seen God's power defeated by evil. A powerful servant of God died. This good man died like a lawbreaker. The government put him to death in front of people. The soldiers that killed him gambled for his clothes. He bled and tried to breath. Many people looked at him. They said bad things to him. The governor put a sign over his head. The sign made fun of him and his people. The sign was written in three languages. All who saw him must think badly of him. The lawbreakers dying with him said bad things to him. He was the same loving person as always. He even promised to take another dying man to heaven. He did not help himself. It was all very, very strange.

Mary had seen Jesus' power in her own life. His power made her believe he belonged to God. She had not always been a servant of God. This good Mary was a follower of Jesus. Mary was very far from God before she knew Jesus. She opened herself up to the devil through evil worship. Evil spirits took over her life. They made her act like a crazy person. Having evil spirits was worse than being crazy. Mary's life was unhappy and terrible. She was strange and scary. She had no hope. Then Jesus came and made the evil spirits leave. She was not a strange and scary woman any more. She became a good, religious person. She was also a friend of Jesus Christ. She was one of the many people who followed him as he traveled. The Mary who watched Jesus die had been changed by his power.

Mary stood outside Jesus' empty grave. Jesus had been dead three days. The grave was a cave. People in Old Israel were often buried in caves. Jesus was poor. He did not have a grave of his own. A rich judge put Jesus' body in his grave. The judge also believed in Jesus. He wasn't like Mary who had nothing to lose. Jesus' enemies could take away the judge's job. He kept his faith in Jesus secret. The judge showed who he really was when Jesus died. He gave his fine grave for his secret friend. Mary had never been a secret friend. She openly followed Jesus.

Mary came to Jesus' grave early that morning. She brought spices to put on his body. She wanted to care for his body before he was buried, but she could not. Jesus died at sundown. A religious holiday began at sundown that very day. Caring for the body was against the law on the holiday. Mary had to wait three days to do the last thing she could for him.

Caring for Jesus' body was not easy. A very large stone covered the door of his grave. She was not strong enough to move the stone. She planned to get inside somehow. She was ready to walk into that dark cave and open the cloth that covered him. The smell would be bad. His body would be ugly. Mary was ready to do this sad work. She wanted to give Jesus' body the care a good person should get.

Mary was faithful. Jesus' other followers were hiding. They had doubts about Jesus. Mary did not have better answers than they did. She did not know how the Son of God could die like a lawbreaker. She just knew Jesus belonged to God. She loved him. Jesus was dead, but Mary still wanted to do her best.

Mary came to do her best for a dead body. She did not get to do this loving thing. She could not find Jesus' body. The grave was open. The body was gone. Men with white clothes were at the grave. They said Jesus had come back to life. Their words did not make sense to her.

The body was gone. Men who looked like angels said Jesus was alive again. Mary did not believe them. The missing body and happy words seemed like part of a terrible story. Her teacher had died a shameful death. He had been buried quickly. Now, she couldn't even care for his dead body. It was a Sunday in springtime, but she did not care. All she could do was stand by the open grave and cry.

She looked up and saw a man. She did not see who he was. She thought he must be the man who cared for the graveyard. Maybe he knew who stole the body. Maybe he took the body away himself. Maybe he would be kind enough to give a dead body to a hurting woman.

He spoke to her: "Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?" [People's words are not always straight from the Bible in this story.]

Tell me where you put his body,” she said. “I will take him away.”

He said, "Mary." It was her name. He said it like no one else could.

She fell down by his feet. "Teacher!" Mary Magdalene could see the power of God in Jesus Christ again. Everything she had believed about Him was true. More than she had believed before was true. She was the first human to see that Jesus Christ had come back to life.

Jesus said, "Do not touch me because I have not gone up to my Father in Heaven. Go to my brothers. Tell them, I am going to my Father. He is also your Father. I am going to my God. He is also your God."

Mary told these words to the rest of Jesus' friends. Mary Magdalene told what she had seen.

Mary's story comes to an end here. We do not know much more about her. God gave her the Holy Spirit with the rest of Jesus' friends. She did not become better known. She was not a leader among Jesus' followers. We do not know if she lived to be old. We do not know if she died for her faith. We just know Mary believed in Jesus and saw him when he rose from the dead.

Still, Mary has a place in history that no one else does. It was this Mary who loved Jesus enough to want His dead body. It was this Mary who cried by His grave when everyone else was hiding. She was very faithful, and God's Son came to her first when he rose from the dead.

Jesus still needed to rise to Heaven. He had seen death and beat it. He had the right to rule Heaven and earth. The angels were happy. The world was about to be turned upside down. The power of the devil was broken forever. Jesus proved He is the Son of God. Jesus rose from the dead. He rose with power to give never-ending life to all people. Soon, millions of people would know His power for themselves. Jesus had just done the biggest thing ever. He was leading the biggest change of all time. Jesus stopped in the middle of these things to talk with Mary.

Jesus rose from the dead two thousand years ago. We still say, "He is risen!" We say these words all over the world. Millions of Jesus' followers talk about him. We tell the news that He gives forgiveness and never-ending life to all who have faith in him. Jesus wants to come to each person on earth. He wants to bring the power of God to each life. He wants to call each of us by name. He wants to share the glory and the power of His risen life.

We do not look for Jesus to come to us in the same way he came to Mary. He comes to us spiritually today. He is waiting for each of us to turn to Him. He brought the power of his risen life to Mary. He wants to bring that same power to you. Will you let him?

Click here to find out how to turn to Jesus: Jesus and You

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