21. Spiritual Maturity Part 5: Am I In Pain?

What Is Spiritual Maturity? How does the Bible define it?


In this series, we are drawing primarily from Hebrews 6:1-2, Philippians 3:4-11, and Romans 12


In parts 1 through 4, we covered Repentance from Dead Works, Faith in God, Knowing God, Sanctification/Mind Renewal, and Walking Out Our Unique Gifts & Calling.


In this video, we’ll cover step 5: The Fellowship of Christ’s Sufferings (Philippians 3:10)


The second to last maturity step Paul identified in Philippians 3 is “the fellowship of His sufferings”. Jesus’ identity as a sufferer is one of His most important characteristics. For example, consider Isaiah 53, arguably the most lucid description of Jesus in the Old Testament. Verse 3 says:


“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”


Many Christians read this and immediately think of the crucifixion. That is certainly part of it. But does it also refer to something more enduring? Something, perhaps, He carried with Him His entire life?


To answer this question, consider another passage where men despise, forsake, and hide from Jesus – John 3:19-20. For clarity, I will replace “the Light” with “Jesus Christ” or “Him”. It says:


“Jesus Christ has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than Him, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates Him, and does not come to Him for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”


There it is. This is why Isaiah said Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. When men despised, forsook, and hid from Him, Jesus was grieved for their sakes, not His. He was concerned with what their rejection meant for them, not Him. They despised and rejected Him because they loved evil and feared exposure of their true condition. Jesus’ grief and sorrow were not results of the cross as much as they were motivators for it. Grief and sorrow, combined with love, are what caused Jesus to leave heaven and come to earth in the first place.


In fact, even throughout the crucifixion process, Jesus’ grief and concern were more for others than Himself. When women wept for Him as He carried His cross, He grieved over the horrors they and their children would experience in a few decades (Luke 23:28). When He saw His mother from the cross, His concern was that she be well taken care of when He was gone (John 19:26). When He saw the Pharisees taunting Him, His still longed for their forgiveness and salvation (Luke 23:34). The greatest sorrow He always felt was for others, not Himself. This is the same sorrow the Father felt in Genesis 6:6 when He saw how evil man became and watched countless souls being lost forever day after day: “He was grieved in His heart”.


The Christian worldview is simultaneously more wonderful and more terrifying than anyone can fully imagine. To the same degree that God loves us (immeasurable), He is also severe toward sin. To the same degree that eternity for believers is wonderful, the second death is likewise horrible. 


Our God is a grieving Father. We cannot possibly grasp the pain He feels over the souls that are lost day after day, hour after hour. Every single one was meant to be His son or daughter forever. Instead, they will spend eternity in separation.


Several years ago, I felt an understanding of the reality of hell that shook me to the core. I had trouble eating, sleeping, or thinking about anything else for about two weeks. Now that I am a father, the idea of one of my children dying without Christ is more awful than I can bear to think about. Yet this is the pain God feels continuously, multiplied by infinity. 


I hate thinking about hell. I hate that there are countless people there now and countless more will go there in the future. I hate that angels rebelled, that mankind fell, and all the terrible things that have precipitated as a result. I hate this war and can’t wait for it to be over. I don’t hesitate to use this language because I believe God feels the same way. He hates it too. He never wanted this, but the possibility of it was an inescapable byproduct of creating beings with free-wills, beings that could actually choose to love and worship and were not controlled like robots.


In the last video, we talked about how our calling takes time and requires a close friendship with God. However, it can also be very painful because it can involve internalizing God’s love for people that, in some cases, will die without Him. This may be the most terrible suffering a Christian can experience. This is part of what Paul referred to when said he knew “the fellowship of His sufferings”.


Jesus was rejected by close friends and family members. He was constantly attacked by spiritual and political leaders. He endured heavy demonic opposition. He was ultimately imprisoned, tortured, and crucified. But He chose all these things willingly because He viewed them in light of the souls that would be saved as a result. The apostle Paul and many others also endured various kinds of suffering on behalf of God’s kingdom. Modern-day believers likewise can experience rejection or persecution from friends, family members, or even governments for their faith in Christ. This is another part of “the fellowship of His sufferings”.


A final aspect of the “fellowship of His sufferings” is experiencing Christ’s compassion. “Compassionate” is the very first word God used when He declared His nature to Moses in Exodus 34:6. The word compassionate means to suffer with. Because He is compassionate, God experiences our suffering as if it is His own.


Many of the trials we experience are not directly on behalf of God’s kingdom, but are just part of living in a fallen world. For example, we may face health issues, a rocky marriage, a difficult boss or coworker, a broken friendship, or a rebellious child. All of these can mature us if we turn to Jesus in the midst of our pain and discover that He is suffering right there alongside us because He cares for us.


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided.








22. Spiritual Maturity Part 6: How Will I Die?


Spiritual Maturity Part 6: How Will I Die?

What Is Spiritual Maturity? How does the Bible define it? 


In this series, we are drawing primarily from Hebrews 6:1-2, Philippians 3:4-11, and Romans 12


In parts 1 through 5, we covered Repentance from Dead Works, Faith in God, Knowing God, Sanctification/Mind Renewal, Walking Out Our Unique Gifts & Calling, and The Fellowship of Christ’s Sufferings.


In this video, we’ll cover step 7: Being Conformed to Christ’s Death


Paul concluded the Philippians 3 passage with “being conformed to [Christ’s] death”. This refers to a lack of desire left to live for worldly or temporal things because only things of eternal value matter. This is likely how Paul felt when he said in Galatians 6:14, “…the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”


Perhaps this also coincides with the final step of Romans 12, which commands us to return love and a blessing to those who do us harm. Sincerely returning love in response to being intentionally, maliciously inflicted with pain or loss is no less miraculous than the blind seeing or the lame walking. It completely defies temporal explanation.


Unconverted Jews tried to kill Paul several times, yet he was not only willing to die for their sakes, but even to trade his salvation for theirs if that were possible! He said in Romans 9:3:


“For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”


Moses felt the same way toward people who repeatedly accused him and rebelled against his leadership. In Exodus 32:32, he said to God:


“But now, if You will, forgive their sin – and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”


After covering the seventh and last step on the road to spiritual maturity, maybe you’ll reach the same conclusion I did, which is that spiritual maturity is rare. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who is mature in all of the areas we have covered, although I’ve met some who are mature in some of them. But maybe this rarity is unsurprising. After all, people zealously pursue all kinds of lesser things such as wealth, fame, career accomplishments, advantageous relationships, physical fitness, etc., but relatively few people greatly excel at any of them, much less all them. How much more then could we expect the far greater pursuit of spiritual maturity, in its many facets, to be lacking plentiful examples in such a dark and fallen world?


However, I want to close with this crucial point. I believe it is more important that we are growing than where we are in the journey. We don’t need to have arrived at a particular milestone to be an effective model. In fact, when others see changes taking place in us, it can actually be more impactful than if we didn’t need those changes to begin with because it demonstrates the transforming power of God and His word. This is why Paul told Timothy to obey his instructions “so that your progress will be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15). Timothy was younger and less experienced than many of those he was leading, but he could still serve as an example because of the direction he was headed in, not because of how far he had gotten.


If you like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.







23. Was Sarah Blindfolded?


Abraham had no doubt he was in the center of God’s will for his life. The Lord appeared to him physically or in a vision at least 4 times over a 25-year period (Genesis 12:7, 14:18, 15:1, 15:17) and clearly spoke to him on several other occasions (Genesis 12:1, 13:14, 15:4). He received powerful revelations of God’s long-term plan for his family line, the nation of Israel, and the salvation of mankind. These encounters sustained Abraham and enabled him to sacrifice so much – his homeland, his friends and family, everything familiar, any hope of a normal and stable life as he wandered about in the wilderness.


What did Sarah have to sustain her? Only Abraham’s claims. That’s it. As far as we know, she received no visitations from the Lord, no revelation about some great calling, and heard nothing from God about leaving her home and family to start a new nation. All she had to go on was a conviction from God to submit to her husband’s leadership (1 Peter 3:4-6). As Abraham’s wife, Sarah was bound to make all the same sacrifices as him, but with none of the encouragement. If we were to compare Abraham’s faith to walking on water, then Sarah was walking on water while blindfolded. 


This was the great trial that stared Sarah in the face for 25 years. Having no confirmation her husband was really hearing from the Lord, Abraham’s claims looked more and more doubtful every year. And this mission from God, as Abraham called it, was costing her dearly – costing her everything.


Sarah’s victory was not that she trusted Abraham, but that she kept entrusting herself to God when she didn’t know whether she could trust Abraham. In so doing, she became a great champion in God’s eyes. She is the only wife mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. The apostle Peter called her a spiritual mother and a model to wives in every generation since (1 Peter 3:4-6). The apostle Paul even called her a symbol of the New Covenant (Galatians 4:24). Though neither Abraham nor Sarah realized it, God was changing her nature into a that of a princess and a mother of nations (Genesis 17:15-16).


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.






24. Was Elizabeth Depressed?


Elizabeth was a godly woman. Descended from Aaron, married to Zacharias the priest, the Bible says she “walked blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). This does not refer primarily to rituals or ceremonies since the Old Testament is filled with commands for the heart such as do not covet (Exodus 20:17), love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18), and love God with all your heart (Deuteronomy 6:5). Elizabeth had a blameless heart in the sight of God.


Elizabeth overcame so much. She was barren her whole life in a society where a woman’s entire worth was based on childrearing. To be barren, in the eyes of many, was a curse from God. Imagine the pain she must have endured year after year while she waited, hoped, and prayed for God to give her a child. She must have wept herself to sleep countless nights after noticing other women whispering behind her back in the marketplace, either pitying her or judging her.   


Perhaps Elizabeth sensed the call to be a mother from an early age. It must have been tormenting and confusing as she approached her 40’s and then her 50’s and the calling didn’t diminish. Maybe she thought she was going crazy. Maybe she wavered from one day to the next about whether she should keep believing God for a child or accept that it wasn’t His plan. Maybe she begged Him with all her heart to take away her desire to be a mother.


Now she was advanced in years, well beyond the ability to become pregnant. All hope was lost. Many women in her situation would have been overcome by bitterness long ago. They would have either blamed God, envied others, or despised themselves. But not Elizabeth. She determined to serve the Lord with all of her heart despite her shattered dreams and constant grief. She turned her pain into worship.


She must have thought to herself a thousand times that she wouldn’t know why God allowed this until she got to heaven. Little did she realize that all of heaven had been watching her the entire time. All of this had merely been preparation for stewarding the life of a man whose arrival all of Israel had been awaiting for hundreds of years, whose ministry was prophesied of by both Isaiah and Malachi (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 4:5), and of whom Jesus said, “…among those born of women there is no one greater” (Luke 7:28).


The angel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth’s husband Zacharias. He announced the coming of their son John and explained his destiny. When Elizabeth became pregnant, she kept it a secret and remained in seclusion for five months. Why? What was she doing those five months?


Luke 1:25 tells us exactly what she was doing. She was telling herself, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.” In other words, Elizabeth spent those five months alone with the Lord, settling in her heart that this miraculous pregnancy was nothing less than the hand of God. She was preparing her heart for what lay ahead.


Elizabeth knew Gabriel’s prophecy about her son would be hard for others to swallow. It must have sounded so grandiose and delusional to imagine telling friends and family who her son was. “So you’re saying your son is a forerunner for the Messiah? He’s the one those scriptures in Isaiah and Malachi are talking about? And who did you say told Zacharias this – the angel Gabriel?”


In all likelihood, many of them would sincerely fear for her sanity and think she needed help. Others would probably believe she was deceived by an evil spirit and perhaps even that this child was from the enemy. Other practical-minded people might suggest she prepare for a miscarriage or that the child could be born with health problems or deformities since both of its parents were so old.


If Elizabeth announced her pregnancy prematurely, she would have unnecessarily exposed herself and her unborn child to all kinds of skepticism, attacks, and negative talk. Satan was just as interested in this child as God was. He was ready at the drop of a hat to begin stirring up controversy in hopes of thwarting the child’s destiny. Elizabeth wanted to be sure she was ready for this onslaught. God had already protected her from doubt and skepticism once – He made Zacharias mute for doubting Gabriel’s word. Now Elizabeth wisely did her part.


She did everything she could to make sure both she and her miracle child were ready to face a doubting world with boldness and confidence.


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.








25. Was Mary Naïve?


Mary loved God with all her heart, but had no concept of the great cost of being used by Him. She had likely never experienced rejection or ridicule by those closest to her. She was a pure, innocent teenager engaged to be married to a godly man. She had her whole life ahead of her. Mary had childlike faith that easily believed God for something miraculous. When the angel Gabriel explained that God would cause a child to supernaturally conceive in her womb, Mary replied, “May it be done to me according to your word.”


In her youthful zeal and naiveté, perhaps she even imagined the people in her life would celebrate with her for having been chosen for this honor. She was likely completely unaware of the firestorm that could be unleashed when word went out that she was pregnant out of wedlock and claimed to be carrying God’s Son. Would she be stoned for sexual immorality? Would she be committed to some kind of asylum for the mentally unstable? Would she be handed over to the religious leaders for deliverance and indoctrination? These were all real possibilities in her culture.


However, Gabriel also told Mary of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and she immediately went to visit her. Unlike Mary, Elizabeth was a seasoned veteran of trusting the Lord through difficult trials, as we discussed in a previous video. If Mary needed a confirmation that her pregnancy really was from the Lord, she got it the moment she entered the house. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, John leaped in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she cried out with a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” This moment was God’s seal that Mary had come to the right place to be strengthened for what lay ahead.


Elizabeth spent an entire lifetime laying a foundation for her call to raise John. Now she would have three months to pass her wisdom on to young Mary. Mary desperately needed a mentor to prepare her for what she was about to face and Elizabeth was perhaps the only woman on earth who was qualified. Mary’s challenges were similar to Elizabeth’s, only greater. Elizabeth had to give birth when she was too old; Mary had to give birth while she was a virgin and potentially unmarried. Elizabeth was tasked with raising a prophet; Mary was responsible for raising God’s Son. Elizabeth faced possible skepticism and ridicule; Mary faced becoming an outcast or worse.


Through their long talks, Mary likely became aware of what was at stake. She had no guarantees of what to expect when she returned home. Would her fiancé bring her before the authorities? Would her parents disown her? If no one believed her, what would she do? How would she survive? A short time ago she was carefree and engaged to be married. Now her life, as she once knew it, was over. She began to see the great cost of being used by God in this way. She began to realize what it meant to lay down her life. As they discussed her options, Mary knew she needed to do what Elizabeth had spent the last five months doing. She needed to settle in her heart that, despite whatever accusations may come, this was nothing less than the hand of God. She needed to stand boldly and confidently on His word even if every single human being in the world disbelieved her, save this one godly relative.


Because Mary had Elizabeth, she knew she was not alone. At least there was one person who could relate to her unimaginable circumstances and understand what she was going through. Thanks to Elizabeth, Mary knew that doing what God was asking of her was possible. If Elizabeth could do it, so could she. Elizabeth had went before her and paved the way. After three months of prayer, mentoring, and faith-building, Mary returned home ready to face whatever may come.


If Mary tried to tell her fiancé Joseph the truth, perhaps it went as well as could be expected. Joseph did not believe her story, but at least he still cared for her and wanted to shield her from public shame. He made plans to end their engagement quietly. Mary must have felt heavy grief mixed with a deep, abiding peace. She didn’t know what was next, but she knew she had obeyed the Lord and that He would not forsake her. Then …a miracle! An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and confirmed everything! In one night, everything changed. Now Mary was going to have a husband who believed her, who would protect and provide for her, and who would treat her Child like his own Son. Now she had a covering and a partner in the inconceivable task of raising the Son of God. God came through. He proved to be faithful in the end… just like Elizabeth promised He would.  


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.







26. Was Mary Frustrated?


Three times in Matthew 2, Joseph uprooted his new wife and baby to move to a completely unknown region because God spoke to him in a dream. This would be difficult on newlyweds even today, but moving was must more difficult in those days. Most people never went more than fifty miles from their birthplace during their entire lives. There were no freeways and moving trucks – just camels and feet. 


Whenever I read this passage, I can’t help wondering if Mary ever felt indignant or frustrated that God kept speaking only to Joseph about such major decisions that affected their whole family. After all, Mary certainly knew the Lord’s voice. She had been visited by an angel. She had been given a special role in God’s salvation plan. She had been entrusted with the responsibility of raising God’s own Son. So why was He only speaking to her husband about their futures?


Perhaps God was preparing her. Perhaps submitting to Joseph’s leadership about such major decisions in those early years prepared her to remain submitted to God’s authority in the years ahead. Mary was completely inadequate for her calling – raising the Son of God to maturity. She would never be able to do this even remotely well through her own wisdom or sincere efforts. She had to be completely dependent on the Holy Spirit’s leading. She could not do things her own way; it had to be the Lord’s way. Faithfully submitting to an imperfect husband would prepare her to submit to God’s authority when she did not always like or understand what He wanted her to do.





27. Was Mary Broken?


In Luke 7 Jesus dined with a Pharisee named Simon who invited Him to his home. In the middle of the meal, a woman who was known to be a sinner, perhaps a prostitute, came into Simon’s home. She anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and wiped them with her hair as she wept with brokenness over her sins. Biblical scholars have debated for centuries whether the Luke 7 repentant sinner, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany (Lazarus’ sister) are one, two, or three distinct persons.


However, this act bears a striking resemblance to Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus just before His crucifixion. Plus, like this woman, Mary Magdalene came from a sordid past, having been delivered by Jesus from seven demons (Luke 8:2). Finally, at the end of the passage, Jesus identifies this woman by her immense love for Him, which is something Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were also known for. Therefore, it is not surprising that many Bible teachers believe this was indeed Mary of Bethany and/or Mary Magdalene at the time of her conversion.






Imagine how vulnerable and embarrassing this act would have been for this woman if she had been self-aware… weeping uncontrollably and wiping Jesus’ feet while everyone just stared at her silently. To add to it, she was in the presence of a well-known spiritual leader in her community who she probably knew condemned her. Yet, she somehow didn’t care. She was so intent on expressing her brokenness to Jesus that she abandoned every semblance of discretion.


The single most destructive type of fear that plagues the human race, including the church, is the fear of having our sin exposed. This is the fear that keeps us hiding from God, buried under guilt, compelled to perform religious works to appease our consciences. However, the most foundational form of courage is the willingness to expose our sin, before God and others, so we can be set free. Mary, if it was her, embodied this courage. She did the opposite of what Adam did in the Garden and what mankind has instinctively done ever since. Instead of hiding from God because of her shame, she actively sought Him out and voluntarily exposed it.


Simon the Pharisee did not understand what was happening. At the same moment the woman was being set free from bondage, Simon manifested his bondage. He began to criticize her in his heart for being a sinner. Jesus, knowing his thoughts, came to her defense, saying “Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much.” Jesus then turned to the woman and said, “Your sins have been forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided.






28. Was Mary Accused?


In Luke 10, Mary and Martha welcomed Jesus and His followers into their home in Bethany. This wasn’t an ordinary occasion – it was the biggest event in the history of the homestead. Their large group of guests included some of the most famous people in the nation – Jesus and His disciples. Plus, it’s possible that many more of Jesus’ followers were present since the seventy he sent out to various cities had just returned to debrief with Him.


What an incredible burden of hospitality! Imagine the pressure and anxiety that Martha must have felt, and that Mary should have felt. Even in our culture, women can become extremely stressed with the preparations involved in entertaining guests. How much more would this have been the case in their culture, where a woman’s entire identity and social value came from her domestic life?


The weight of expectations for Mary to fulfill her hostess duties would have been enormous. But she disregarded them. Instead, she sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him teaching. To Martha and probably many others, this was inexcusable. But for Mary it was worth it. She valued the opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet so highly that any amount of derision paled by comparison.


Jesus knew Mary’s heart and affirmed her choice. Martha, a godly woman, took offense and brought the matter to Jesus’ attention, sincerely expecting Him to stand up for her and correct Mary. Instead, He stood up for Mary and corrected Martha.


The fear of not living up to the expectations of family members, friends, employers, or one’s culture can be overwhelming. This fear can make it seem impossible to find time for the one thing in life that matters most – sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet and being changed by His presence. Mary is a model for overcoming this fear. She had courage to accept the scorn and criticism that is often associated with choosing heaven’s priorities over mans’. 


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.





29. Was Mary Ridiculed?


Shortly before Jesus’ crucifixion, in the middle of a meal, with her family members and all the disciples present, Mary of Bethany took a vial of perfume worth tens of thousands of dollars, broke it over Jesus’ head, anointed His feet, and wiped them with her hair (John 12, Mark 14, and Matthew 26). Imagine how vulnerable and embarrassing this would have been if Mary had been self-aware. To make matters worse, those present were indignant and scolded her, calling it a waste.


Perhaps Mary’s family members thought she was being dramatic and wanted to be the center of attention. Perhaps the disciples thought she was being self-righteous and holier-than-thou. However, Jesus knew her heart and He defended her. He was so moved and honored by her expression of love that He promised it would be told to every generation afterward for all time. This must have made everyone else’s criticism seem completely meaningless to Mary. She was only concerned about one Man’s approval.


Someone who pursues Jesus with all her heart and passion, without regard for appearances or reputation, may be ridiculed by other Christians, friends, and family members. She may be called too extreme or unbalanced. There’s nothing the world hates more than a Mary Magdalene and it is not difficult for this world’s spiritual rulers to find people to agree with their accusations. However, those who pursue Jesus like Mary are willing to endure it because the joy of having Jesus’ approval makes all the criticism seem meaningless by comparison.


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.







30. Was Mary Persecuted?


After Jesus was crucified, Jesus’ disciples went into hiding for fear of the Jews (John 20:19). Mary Magdalene might easily have been subject to the same fear since she was known for having gone around from city to city with Jesus and the disciples (Luke 8:1-2). However, her desire to honor Jesus’ body overruled any fear she might have felt. As a result, she has the honor of being the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection (Mark 16:9, John 20:16). (1)


Afterward, she was once again subject to ridicule and was once again defended by Jesus. When she jubilantly announced to the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead, they thought it was nonsense and refused to believe her (Mark 16:11, Luke 24:11). Shortly afterward, Jesus Himself appeared to them and reproached them for not believing her testimony (Mark 16:14).


Jesus actually set Mary up to be misunderstood and ridiculed. He commanded her to tell the disciples of His resurrection (John 20:17) knowing they might reject her testimony, but He wanted to test them to see if they would seek the Holy Spirit’s perspective rather than trusting their own reasoning. Mary’s encounter with Jesus was completely outside their paradigm for what was possible. They could not consider her testimony was true so they had no choice but to dismiss it as nonsense. Many people cannot accept a believer’s testimony about their journey with the Lord if it doesn’t fit into their worldview or their paradigm for how God works. This can often lead to ridicule. This is another kind of courage Mary modeled – the courage to share her testimony about God’s activity in her life even though others might dismiss it or deride her for it.



As stated in a previous video, scholars have debated for centuries whether the Luke 7 repentant sinner, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany (Lazarus’ sister) are one, two, or three distinct persons. Regardless, we’ve seen an incredible truth emerge in this video series: There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18). Therefore, love inspires the greatest acts of courage. Mary’s life, whether individually or collectively, is a picture of this courage.


She was criticized (possibly) for her transparency and brokenness over her sins. She was criticized for violating cultural and family expectations so she could sit at Jesus’ feet. She was criticized for expressing overt passion and generosity in her worship of Jesus. And she was criticized for sharing her experience of Jesus’ resurrection. Every great thing she ever did was opposed and ridiculed by others, usually other believers, and every time Jesus affirmed and defended her. She refused to be ruled by fear because she was ruled by love. (3)



She was like a prophet, except instead of being persecuted for declaring God’s judgments or future events, she was persecuted for her shameless love for Jesus. The blessing Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount certainly applies to her life:


“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)


If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my free book available at the link provided. Thanks for watching.