Three Mary's

Her name was Mary, no her
name was Mary, wait a minute—no her name was Mary.  There were at least three major women
referred to in the gospels as Mary!  I
actually found six in total!  We might
get a little confused with them all, but the amazing thing is our God didn’t
and doesn’t.  They may have shared the
same name, but their calling and gifting was individualized for each of
them.  The same is true for each of us.

Let’s look at these three Mary’s.  Each of them adds value to our lives as we
see her personality, gifting and purpose develop as her story is woven in His
Story. 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, we can imagine, held a special place
in his heart.  She knew him like no other. 
Her calling was the most unique of all. 
No one else in all eternity had the special joy and pain of birthing and
raising the Son of God. I believe she was a strong woman.  She had to be.  She endured the shame of being pregnant
before marriage.  She birthed him in less than ideal circumstances after
an arduous journey.  She carried in her heart the joy of being the mother
of the Messiah, but also the realization of the cost of that call.  How
exciting it must have been, watching him glorify His Father through
supernatural wonders.  It must have
filled her heart with such joy.  She also had to endure the pain of watching
the rejection by the Jewish priests and leaders.  Every mother feels the sting of rejection when
others do not respect and accept their child, no matter how old.  This was
part of her calling.  Mary, his mother, chose to watch her son suffer his
crucifixion.  But then she also got to experience the joy of his
resurrection.  But her purpose did not end when he launched his ministry,
she chose to follow him as a believer, putting aside “I remember when baby
stories” and accepting God’s plan and purpose for her son.  As parents, this is not always an easy
task.  Mary modeled it well as she
continued helping nurture the early church.

Mary of Bethany, (sister to Martha and Lazarus) sat at his feet
and learned from him.  Not many of her words were recorded by the writers,
but we see her present with others.  Her weeping and the others around
her, caused Jesus to become deeply troubled and the miracle of Lazarus'
resurrection took place.  Amazingly, the scriptures record: Many of the people who were with
Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen".  
John 11:45 I
wonder if this quiet Mary drew people to her.  

Another dinner was served by her sister Martha.  Her
brother Lazarus feasted at the meal, but their sister Mary did something
controversial.  She brought out a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume
and anointed Jesus with it.  We don't know if it was an extravagant act of
love and appreciation because her brother, who was dead, was now alive: or if
it was because she heard and comprehended that he was facing his death soon.
Jesus defended her in the midst of others thinking it was a waste. In
Mark 14:8, Jesus said, she did
what she could.
 We too need to see what we can do, not worry or be
frustrated with what we cannot do.  Our
assignments are based on God’s plan and purpose in which he equips us. 

Mary of Magdela or Mary Magdalene, as we know her was delivered
from seven demons. She walked in that freedom and helped support Jesus and the
disciples as they traveled the countryside.  This Mary was faithful.  She
watched the crucifixion and followed the men to his burial spot (along with
another Mary, the mother of James and Joseph).  Mary Magdalene was so
devoted that she and another Mary got up early and went to visit the tomb.
Because of their fervency, they witnessed an angel of the Lord rolling
the stone away from the mouth of the tomb.  As the guards shook with fear,
these women were comforted and got to be the first to share the good news of
his resurrection.  Many times our most
important role is to be part of the support system for others.  Mary Magdalene did this amazingly. 

Each of these three women responded in their own way to the
Lord.  They each had an encounter and chose to follow him and his
teachings.  They were unique and because of that they each had their own
assignment (calling and gifting).  We can learn from them.  We don't
have to be alike to follow our Savior.  My dear brothers and sisters, we
need to accept our differences and then ask the Father to help us become the
best us we can be.  The Kingdom of God needs us to allow the Holy Spirit
to help us become like Jesus.  As we grow and mature in our Christ like
character and nature, then we will learn to walk in confidence about who He has
made us.  This is a place of freedom. 
It allows us to work together toward the same goal, while working in separate
areas of the vineyard, enjoying our strengths and understanding we don’t have
to do everything!  How refreshing!