THE SECOND MARY— KNOWING AND EXPERIENCING THE LORD’S DEATH
Now we will go on to speak about the second Mary. The first Mary is related to Christ’s birth, while the second Mary is related to Christ’s death. Anyone who wants to let Christ be born in him must be like the first Mary. Who does the first Mary represent? The first Mary represents those who love God to such a degree that they do not care for their own status. The principle of God’s becoming flesh is the giving up of His status. If God had considered Himself to be God, He could not have become flesh and entered into man. The reason that God could become flesh is that He lost His own status. Hence, for one to receive God into him, he must also be one who loses his status. Mary gave up her status of being a virgin and became a pregnant woman. If it were not for one’s love for God, no one would be willing to do this. All those who want Christ to enter into them must likewise lose their status.
The second Mary is related to Christ’s death. Many Christians know of the Lord’s death, but they do not understand the meaning of the Lord’s death. In the New Testament the Lord’s death—or the Lord’s cross—is a big topic. Paul said that he did not determine to know anything except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). Generally, every Christian should know Christ’s death, but to this day very few Christians have really understood it. In the Gospels the Lord told the disciples again and again that He had to suffer death, but none of His disciples heard, understood, or knew what He was saying. Immediately after the Lord told the disciples that He had to go to Jerusalem to suffer death and be crucified, the disciples turned around and had a contention as to which one among them would be the greatest.
The mother of the sons of Zebedee came with her two sons to ask the Lord Jesus for one thing—that her two sons would sit, one on His right and one on His left, in His kingdom. This was the disciples’ response after hearing of the Lord’s death. Then the Lord asked them, “Are you able to drink the cup which I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?…But to sit on My right or on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (Mark 10:38, 40). The baptism with which the Lord was baptized refers to His death, and the cup which He drank refers to the shedding of His blood. The Lord Jesus told the disciples so many things, but they did not understand. Why were they unable to understand? It was because they loved vainglory, position, reputation, and themselves instead of the Lord. It is impossible for one who loves himself to know the Lord’s death.
Among the many disciples of the Lord was one—Mary of Bethany. This sister was different from the other disciples. The other disciples loved not the Lord but themselves; this sister loved not herself but the Lord. Thus, while the other disciples could not understand the things the Lord said, she could. While no one heard the Lord’s speaking concerning His death, she did. Others did not know the time, but she knew that a few days later the Lord would be delivered to sinners and would die, so she grasped the opportunity to pour ointment on the Lord. Judas, the disciple who loved money, rebuked her, saying, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). This kind of person cannot know the Lord. If a person always haggles over money and is calculating in material things, his love will be reduced to nothing by his calculating. Such a one cannot know the Lord. Mary loved the Lord to such an extent that she did not keep accounts. If there are accounts, there is no love. When there is real love, there is no accounting.
In the entire New Testament only Judas knew accounting. Was Mary confused? No, it was Judas who was confused. A few days later when Judas was betraying the Lord Jesus, he bargained and asked for thirty pieces of silver. He must have been influenced by his accounting on that day. Many times when a person is too clear and is too good in calculating, he is unable to know Christ’s death because he does not know the preciousness and sweetness in Christ’s death. Neither does he know how great a salvation or how glorious a release there is in Christ’s death. Because he does not know Christ’s death, he does not appreciate it.
However, the Lord testified for this sister, Mary, telling the disciples to leave her alone because she had done a noble deed to Him. The Lord said that they had the poor with them always, and whenever they wanted to they could do good deeds for them, but they would not always have Him. What she had done for the Lord was not a waste. Moreover, the Lord told the disciples, “Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be told as a memorial of her” (Mark 14:6-9). This may be considered the second gospel, which is preached simultaneously with the Lord’s dying love. The first gospel is that the Lord Jesus died for us, and the second gospel is that we know and comprehend His death.
Those who do not love the Lord cannot have the experience of Romans 6. The experience in Romans 6 is the experience of dying with Christ. Mary was the only one among the disciples who was conformed to the Lord’s death in the experience of dying with Him. Among so many followers, only Mary knew, appreciated, experienced, and had a foretaste of the Lord’s death. Why was this the case? It was because she was Mary, and the meaning of Mary is to love the Lord. Only those who love the Lord will allow the Lord to be born in them, only those who love the Lord can know the Lord’s death, and only those who love the Lord can know the Lord’s resurrection.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)