Mary Magdalene: Worthless No Longer!

Posted on March 22, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Note: This is a fictional story based on the biblical account.

Unwelcome Voices
“Worthless!”

“You have no purpose!”

“Why do you not just drown yourself and end your misery!”

The once-familiar taunts had suddenly resurfaced, rising somewhere from the deeper recesses of her consciousness. The good thing – if there was something good about this sudden emergence of past torments – was that the voice she was hearing was her own and not the demons which once controlled her.

For the most part, however, this new development in Mary’s life was puzzling. After all, she had been washed clean, healed, and saved; why the sudden bout of doubt, panic, and fear?

Mary’s trip back to her home village of Magdala was more difficult than she ever imagined it would be. And that baffled her. She had been made new by Jesus, and had even been the first person He appeared to following His resurrection. This alone should have been enough to calm her anxieties. But it was something about this village, this Magdala, nestled snugly on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, that so ruffled her. It was now a month following Christ’s resurrection and she had come home to share with her former neighbors all that had happened over the past three years.

Dark Turn
However, her first trip back home had taken a very dark and disagreeable turn. And that was strange, because things did not start off that way when she arrived the day before. In fact, all went well at first when she returned to her childhood home and joyfully greeted her parents. It was wonderful to see them again, and she rejoiced. She also felt fine as she circulated throughout the small village, greeting former friends and acquaintances and telling anyone who would listen about the man from Nazareth named Jesus.

But it was that first night, as she lay in her old bed in her old room, that things began to go askew. The great euphoria she had been experiencing the past month had vanished, replaced by confusion and discomfort. And Mary could not figure out why.

She rose early the next morning, just before dawn, and walked down to the shore of Galilee, where the fishermen were arriving after their night’s catches out on the sea. Clasping her hands firmly as if praying, Mary began to meander the coastline, trying to make sense of the calamity seizing her mind and why she was suddenly experiencing feelings of worthlessness and despair.

As she started mulling over this dark development, Mary decided to return to the beginning of her troubles, allowing her mind to travel back to the years before she met Jesus. She recalled her youth, which was typical and without incident. When she reached age 13, her parents tried to arrange a marriage for her, but they rarely could find a suitable match for their industrious daughter. And when they did manage to stumble over one, they could tell that Mary was simply not interested in being a bride.

Fortunately for the young teenager, her parents, though strongly insisting, never forced their daughter to marry anyone she did not feel comfortable with, and so she was able to hold on to her singleness. And her independence. By age 18, Mary had become a fixture in the marketplace of Magdala, selling beautiful garments – tunics, robes, and nightclothes she had woven – and was quite the successful woman. By the age of 22 and still living at home, she had accrued somewhat of a small fortune. Life was good.

In a world where men dominated, Mary carved out her own niche, her own little piece of the universe where she could support herself and live independently if she needed to. But more than anything, Mary was bursting with self-confidence and worth – and not in a vain way. On the contrary, she was quite humble by nature, but took pride in the fact of knowing that no matter what, she would always be able to stand on her own.

And then something horrible happened.

Possessed
One evening as she and her parents were sharing dinner, she felt a jolt in her body. She could not explain what it was, but it seemed as if something had come crashing into her. She felt violated and grew wildly fearful. She looked up at her parents and could see they were staring at her.

Then all went black.

When she regained her senses, she looked around the room and noticed it was in shambles. Plates broken. Food scattered. Cushions torn. She looked down at her hands. They were bleeding. She felt winded and dizzy.

She looked up at her parents to ask them what had happened, but was left mute by the sight of her mother cowering in her father’s embrace. He had scratches on his face and arms and his hair was disheveled, as if he had been in a fight.

“A demon, Mary …” he stammered.

“What?” she asked woozily.

“A demon, my daughter, has come upon you,” he said, his voice trembling while his wife sobbed. “I am afraid, my love, you are possessed.”

That was the beginning of a four-year nightmare which would torment Mary and her family. Two days following the incident, the voices began. “Mary, you are unworthy to live,” one would say. “No one loves or needs you,” another echoed in all its wretched fury.

As her mind grew more afflicted, she became incapable of carrying out daily activities. Within three months, her demon possession had become so severe that she was forced to shut down her thriving business. But worse than anything, she could not be left alone. To do so would be to condemn her to the will of the demons, who would surely cause her to kill herself. Life became ghastly for her parents and, during Mary’s rare moments of lucidity, she could see the toll of their constant vigilance over her was taking on them as they aged cruelly in just a few short years.

And all along, the horrific voices continued to plague her. “Why do you not walk into the lake and drown yourself,” one would urge. A different demon would try to entice her to fling herself into any fire she saw burning.

She eventually came to understand that her body had become the lodging of seven demons. The rabbis and holy men of Galilee were helpless against them. There would be times of insanity followed by tranquility, then back to insanity. Mary became hideous to look at during those times, her hair a mop of stringy disarray, her eyes bulged and frightening, her cheeks sunken and gaunt.

Her parents tried to keep her indoors during her fits of frenzy, but they were not strong enough. Whenever she went into her rants – usually in the marketplace – the terrorized citizens of Magdala would scatter. Life was agony.

She even began believing the vile accusations. “I am worthless. I have no value. I bring nothing but gloom and terror to all who love me. What purpose is there in living?”

Her parents eventually found themselves struggling to give her a positive answer.

Saved!
Then, one day during a bout of insanity, she saw a man and his followers enter the marketplace. Instantly, her demonic tenants dragged her to him and began spewing words of hatred and revilement against him. But the man would have none of it. He raised his hand and demanded, “Demons, leave this woman at once!”

Mary fell to the ground as if dead.

When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the smiling face of the man who had healed her. His countenance spoke volumes of love and compassion to her, the likes of which she never knew existed. From that day forth, she was His. She would accompany His band of followers and provide for their needs out of the abundance she had accumulated over the years. She would witness His miracles and learn at His feet. She would also witness His death on the cross – and was crushed.

But that was only momentary as He revealed Himself to her following His resurrection. He told her to tell the disciples that she had seen Him. She did, but did not stop there; she came home to Magdala to tell those who had once held her in such contempt. Returning to this place of such terrible memories, however, had jolted her, but she at last figured out what was happening.

“My flesh is acting up,” she said aloud with a laugh. “Why allow such doubts to overwhelm me? I belong to Jesus the Lord, and He is my salvation! I have worth! I have a place!”

Suddenly, a profound peace fell upon her. All dark contemplation was vanquished. She would never again allow her mind play games on her. The chilling thoughts of worthlessness she had once felt were over and done with, never to rise again. She belonged totally to Christ the Lord, and would belong to Him for eternity!