The Four Mary’s in Jesus’ Life

“Jesus had four separate women named Mary in his life. They are as follows:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).

Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Magdala (Mark 16:9, John 20:18).

Mary who was Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister (Luke 10:39, 42, and John 11:1-12:3).

Mary who was the wife of Cleopas, (John 19:25), and the mother of James the less (junior) and Joses (Matthew 27:56); this Mary is referred to as the other Mary– Matthew 28:1.

There are two other women named Mary in the New Testament, but there is no biblical evidence they ever knew Jesus when he walked. One is Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12), and the other Mary lived in Rome, the Apostle Paul greets her in the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:6).” ~LMJ~

A Prayer with Thankfulness

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Prayer is believing with thankfulness, and believing is the HOW to our receiving from God. Prayer is what builds and strengthens our relationship with God, and gives us freedom and liberty to believe that God is present, willing, and able to answer us. Prayer is the key that helps release us from our doubts, worries, and fears, for we can daily give our concerns over to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). He in turn will manifest Himself to us, becoming our true sufficiency in life. In the Gospel of John we have a short prayer that Jesus offered, and he spoke it out to teach others around him how to pray in thankfulness.

John 11:41b-42:
-41b:  And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
-42:  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

First notice that Jesus spoke intimately with God, calling Him Father. Secondly, notice that the very first thing he said was “I thank thee.” Being thankful is one of the greatest keys in receiving answers to our prayers. Yes, being humbly thankful even before receiving is absolutely the greatest way to receive our answers from God. Thirdly, Jesus acknowledges that God “always” hears his prayers. This is a great lesson to us so we may always know that God indeed hears the prayers of our hearts. Fourth, Jesus believed that his prayer would inspire others to believe as well. Believing in our prayers, believing that we will be receiving, is a biblical requirement for receiving from God, and will always be inspirational to others as they see our believing manifested.

“And when he {Jesus} thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth (John 11:43). Verse 43 is the climax of Jesus’ prayer, and Lazarus was raised from the dead because Jesus was thankful and he knew that God heard him.  He believed in his heart.  In Jesus’ prayer, he was thankful in advance, thankful knowing that his prayer would be completely answered, and this would also be inspiring to others. Jesus was teaching us how to believe the Father for the answers to our prayers.

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe {in advance} that ye receive them, and {then} ye shall have them.

The healing Word of God encourages that we first believe in our prayer, and from the lessons of Jesus we can learn that being thankful is how he believed. Thanking God in advance and believing that we have received will bring great things into our lives, to our families, and our surroundings. The Apostle Paul said “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all” (Romans 1:8), because the first thing in prayer is thankfulness, and thankfulness builds positive believing, and all believing equals receiving. Paul thanked God in the name of Jesus Christ, teaching that our prayers offered in the name of Jesus Christ will have a positive effect to the answers we want. Jesus said, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29b). The reason we are blessed is that we believed even before we have received the gifts and answers that we desire from the Father.  May you continue to enjoy your prayer life with thankfulness.

Life Ever After

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Today, many God-loving Christians do not know for sure whether or not they are going to Heaven, or even if they are saved. This also was quite prevalent in Jesus’ time, for many of the people he met and talked with had no clue about the hope and the promise of Life Ever After. In the smallest common denominator, the main reason for not knowing the certainty of their future was because they did not understand the Old Testament Scriptures that revealed their future to be one lived in eternal glory.

Jesus became disappointed that so many people in his day did not understand the Word of God and said to Nicodemus, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things” (John 3:10)? Nicodemus was a teacher of the Scriptures, yet he really did not have a clue about the subject of life ever after when speaking to Jesus, or Nicodemus would have realized who he was addressing ― the Word. Jesus was in essence saying to him, “Man, how can you call yourself a Teacher and a Man of the Cloth (so-to-speak), if you do not understand even foundational truths regarding your future life!”

It is evident that some of our modern Bible critics maintain that the Old Testament Scriptures do not teach any significant truths relating to eternal life or resurrection, which is an honest conclusion when one has never seen nor understood the true subject of Scripture. All of the Bibles I know of, including the Texts of the Greek, the Aramaic, and the Hebrew (from whence came our English Bibles), all teach as a basic theme the resurrection and life ever after through the Christ, the Messiah!

John 3:14-17:
-14: {Jesus is still talking to Nicodemus} And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
-15: That whosoever {this includes Nicodemus, you and me} believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
-16: For God So loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-17: For God sent not {sent NOT} his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Life ever after was contingent upon the first coming of the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the same one that Israel was hoping for and he indeed came, and now the promised life of eternity is a done deal because he gave his life for the world.

In the Old Testament times, the Messiah’s first coming was a future hope (for Israel), and all of them who would believe in him would inherit the new earth in the future at their promised resurrection (Psalms 37:9). Today in grace, in the New Testament times, the Messiah’s second coming is our future hope. No one could stop his first coming and I assure you as well that no one and no amount of doubt or unbelief will prevent Jesus’ returning for you and me. When he returns, he will gather us up together, bringing us up to our new heavenly home into the eternity of God’s heaven to enjoy life ever after (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Jesus told Martha (one of Lazarus’ sisters), “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). It is in knowing him that we find the plan of Redemption planned for us; it is through him that we receive eternal life. Without knowing him, like Nicodemus, one cannot grasp true spiritual matters of life ever after. However, when we learn of Jesus, the resurrection, and the life, he reveals the comfort and surety of our Life Ever After.

John – Revealing Our Example – the Son of God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ is revealed as the beautiful and glorious Son of God, for he is the “branch” i.e., the offspring of the Lord our God.

John’s Gospel shows to us how Jesus Christ revealed his Father to a greater extent than was ever known to humanity since the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We see how Jesus prayed and gave glory to God as an example of how we today can walk in his steps with the same degree of fellowship that the Son of God had with his Father.

In John we can really see the far-reaching extent of the love Jesus had for man and God. We find Jesus weeping over the death of Lazarus, and how he walked with great compassion to his fellow man, not only to those of Israel, but to the Samaritans and to the Gentiles as well, for Jesus was (and still is) to the world – the gift of God (John 3:16).

Isaiah 4:2 – In that day shall the branch of the LORD {the Son of Jehovah} be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel {those who believe from the nation of Israel}.

John 20:31 – But these are written {the Gospel of John}, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

In all of the Gospels we can find Jesus Christ as the King, the Servant, the Man, and the Son of God, yet each Gospel highlights a different aspect of the life of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

In John’s Gospel we can follow the teachings of Christ as he represents the true voice of God and redeems men and women back to his Father so that we may become sons and daughters of God.

John 7:16 – Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his {God’s} that sent me.

John 8:28 – Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man {as we lift him up onto the pedestal of our hearts and embrace him in our minds}, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

John 8:46-47a:
-46: Which of you convinceth {convicts} me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
-47a: He that is of God heareth God’s words {for they are His}: . . .

John 12:49-50:
-49: For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
-50: And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

John 14:10 – Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works {God backed up every word Jesus spoke with infallible proofs, then and now}.

John 14:24 – He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 17:8 – For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Jesus Christ revealed the Father not only when he was physically here walking on earth, but does so throughout the entire healing Word of God, and even today he continues for he lives in our hearts (Romans 8:10-17).

Jesus Christ is Our Example – the Son of God, for he continues revealing to us how to walk with God as His very own sons and daughters. I John 3:2 states “Beloved, now {not someday but right “now”} are we the sons {“sons” is an all-inclusive noun} of God.”

A Heart of Testimony (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

What is A Heart of Testimony? It is one of the greatest, personal witnesses ever given to man by God. When I say testimony, what I mean is your own personal story of deliverance spoken with genuine enthusiasm. You – being the recipient of a personal blessing from God – become an authority on your own testimony that is lived by you, appreciated by you, and enjoyed more by you than any other living being because of the genuine excitement that your life reflects.

The heart of testimony is your outpouring spoken from your inner heart. When you, with your testimony – your true story – reach out and actually touch someone else’s heart with your feelings of joy and inner thankfulness, your life and testimony become a divine treasure released from the depths of your soul, as you become a precious gem and showpiece for the glory of God.

When you rehearse your testimony, even if it’s just to yourself, it becomes a reminder of why you can be so thankful. In II Corinthians 1:10 it says that God has “delivered us {past tense} and does deliver {present tense} in whom we trust that He will yet deliver {future tense}.” So not only does God deliver us once, but many times, and there’s still more to come!

From God’s point of view, the world needs more testimonies to establish Him as being alive and well, contrary to some popular beliefs, and those testimonies will lead people to Christ. From your point of view, your community, your neighbors, friends, and families need your testimonies to introduce Christ to them.

A heart of testimony is speaking up with your true story about what God has done for you personally. This is the greatest way to witness! A heart of testimony is your story of how God has touched your life in some way, and as you learn to recognize how much God has been enlightening, blessing, and encouraging you individually, you can begin to release your own true stories of deliverance that I like to call, A Heart of Testimony.

Psalms 119:111:
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

We Christians have the wonderful opportunity to express our personal testimonies about God’s personal intervention in our lives that only we can express as we become personally involved with our own tangible proofs of God’s loving care and concern for us.

A heart of testimony inspires us to become more involved in our communities, Churches, or fellowship groups, to help our families, our friends, and our neighbors see the greatness of God’s healing Word on a real personal level.

We can receive so much truth and understating from God’s Word spiritually, physically, and mentally, that a release becomes almost necessary, and with a heart of testimony, we have a wonderful way to release and begin receiving more from God. Having an inlet and an outlet will prevent the Christian believer’s life from becoming stagnant, for it replenishes our ability to give and to receive.

Your own testimony carries more weight, more power, and more conviction than secondhand stories because you witnessed it personally, and rarely can it be disputed because you were there as a firsthand witness – you saw it – you lived through it – and you sincerely believe it to a greater degree than anyone else could. The excitement of your own conviction, my friends, is what people will see and know as you speak up to tell someone your own story — your own heart of testimony.

There will always be people living in your sphere of influence that only you can help with your testimony. Why, even when Jesus Christ was here walking on the earth, other people spoke up to help him spread the Gospel with their own testimonies. There were the twelve Apostles whom Jesus sent out (Mark 6:7), and later Jesus sent out seventy more (Luke 10:1), and he encouraged future generations to continue the mission (Mark 16:15). It was Andrew who brought the fisherman, Simon Peter to Jesus, and Philip brought Nathaniel over to meet Jesus.

The same should be happening today, our ministers or clergyman or the heads and leaders of our youth groups cannot win everyone in their community to the Lord Jesus Christ. It should be an effort by all to help get the God of deliverance into society’s mainstreams, highways, and byways.

Who else is in our schools and campuses? Who else is really out there in our societies amongst the people? You and I are out there! God gave us all eternal life by His “grace” and He made us all able to share our own testimony from our hearts.

We have hundreds of thousands of personal and different stories of deliverance that we have to share with people. According to the Bible, our very lives are an “Epistle of Christ (II Corinthians 3:3). Like Christ taught, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34), for the testimonies that we can deliver will come from the abundance of our hearts.

For the most part people will usually read your life, your words, and the fruit you bear before taking a serious look at God’s Word. What comes out of your mouth might be the critical factor in someone’s decision to turn to Christ and accept his or her own deliverance.

Let’s go to the Bible and see just a few examples of testimonies starting with Simon in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 26:6:
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

You know what? Simon was healed of his leprosy before this day occurred. Yet he still carried his old name, Simon the Leper. To Simon this was not an insult or disgrace, but a blessing to have this title, just as honorable as if he were known by Simon the Just. Why? This was Simon’s story, his testimony of his deliverance. He was now clean and free of leprosy, yet was still affectionately known by his title, as it was a wonderful reminder to Simon of where he came from and who healed him.

Simon’s story must have just thrilled his family, friends, and neighbors to hear his testimony over and again, especially for those who knew him before his healing and had seen his bodily devastation of leprosy. Oh, how thankfully humble that must have kept Simon. I have no doubt that Simon’s Heart of Testimony led many to Christ for years to come!

Mark 16:9:
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had {past tense} cast {out} seven devils.

Mary Magdalene did not have seven devil spirits anymore, yet God’s Word still points it out to us. Why? Again, for the same reason as Simon’s, this was Mary’s testimony. Think of the people Mary could have helped, people in similar circumstances with devil spirits or living around satanic influences, and as she relayed her testimony, explaining how Christ cast out those spirits to set her free, her testimony would give others the same hope of freedom that comes from knowing the Savior. What a wonderful testimony Mary had.

John 12:9, 11:
9: Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
11: Because that by reason of him {Lazarus} many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

Many people believed on Jesus, not only because of his preaching, but also because of the once dead man, Lazarus. Perhaps Lazarus would have said, “Oh yeah, I used to be dead! I was in a sepulcher wrapped in grave clothes for four days, but now I am alive and every day is new and exciting, every moment is a great gift! I really appreciate life and I owe it all to God through His Son, Jesus Christ!”

Possibly Lazarus would have reminded his two sisters and friends of the words Jesus spoke in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” By believing on Jesus Christ and his words, we, much like Lazarus, can pass from spiritual death unto spiritual life and enjoy our lives more abundantly as Jesus Promised in John 10:10.

It was Jesus Christ that raised Lazarus up and gave him a new life with a new song in his heart and a testimony that could reach into the very lives of people as he presented himself a living testimony for all to see, hear, and touch.

Perhaps it may seem to us that our testimonies are not as dramatic as Lazarus’ was, but there is no doubt that God, Who “is no respecter of persons” has given each of us a personal testimony to bring the God of deliverance to those in our immediate surroundings.

Lazarus, who was he? Much like you and me, touched by the Master’s hand, our Physician of the heart, and blessed with a testimony as a real living Epistle for the glory of God. As Jesus told one man, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” We have the story of Jesus delivering this man who had a “legion” of spiritual problems. This man became so blessed that he wanted to travel with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go home and share his own testimony with his family, neighbors, and friends.

Mark 5:19-20:
19: Howbeit Jesus suffered him not {did not allow him to go with him}, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
-20: And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

The word Decapolis was not the word for a single city, but for an entire region, Decapolis means ten cities. This man whom Jesus healed in so many ways began spreading his own heartfelt testimony, his own experience that he had with Jesus, throughout Decapolis, so much so that when Jesus himself later passed through the regions of Decapolis it was easier for him to teach and preach the Gospel and heal people (Mark 7:31-8:9). Similarly, when we express our testimonies, we are preparing hearts to receive Christ and the healing Word of God.

When people express their own testimonies and they convey the compassion Jesus had upon their lives, even if it is only to their families and friends, the wonderful healing Word of God becomes more accessible, living, and real to those who hear them.

When we realize the compassion the Lord has on our lives, it is easy to be compassionate enough to reach out and share our testimony that we have placed in our hearts. This is how the Word of God flourished in the first century, and it is certain that even today the Word of God again can prevail as we tell our testimony with the love of God.

Perhaps one of the greatest recorded examples we have of testimonies is that of the Apostle Paul who expressed his story at every opportunity. Paul’s testimonies are written throughout the Book of Acts and the Epistles and Letters he wrote that are in the New Testament as a real example for all to see how he came face to face with God’s Word and his Savior.

In the Old Testament we read, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua” (Exodus 17:14). God wanted Moses to rehearse over and again the testimony of Joshua’s victories about his personal battles that would continue to inspire Joshua as the next leader of Israel. Knowing ourselves that we are more than conquerors with God in Christ (Romans 8:37), and believing that we can be victorious in our endeavors is something that God desires for His children to know and understand, for our heart of testimony can continue to build us up as individuals as well as all of those with whom we share them.

To study countless examples of a heart of testimony, see the Book of Psalms and Hebrews chapter 11. The Book of Acts is also filled with wonderful testimonies that the believers shared with one another.

In Acts 14:27 we read that the believers: “rehearsed all that God had done with them,” and thus, they outlined the details of their own testimonies with one another.

In Acts 12:17 Peter: “declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison,” which blessed, emboldened, and inspired the believers with encouragement and comfort.

In Acts 11:4 after delivering the Gospel to the Gentiles, Peter and his company: “rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them.”

These are all hearts of testimony that always bring glory to God, excitement to our families, our friends, and our neighbors, and personal joy into our lives for speaking up and sharing our own heartfelt experiences that we have had with our Savior and heavenly Father.

Psalms 119:111:
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Matthew 5:16:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

John 3:21:
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.