In the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Mary Magdalene sings the hauntingly beautiful song, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him.”
She is puzzled by her feelings for Jesus. She has known many men before, as she says, “in very many ways.” She does not understand why Jesus should be any different.
While she repeatedly says, “He’s just a man,” her soul knows He is much more. She realizes she loves Him, but this Love is different.
Should she even trust Him? His Gentleness attracts her. His Revolutionary Teachings enthrall her. He speaks with Power and Authority. He seems to know Who He is.
He treats her with such respect. He seems to welcome her into the discussion of life. She is not afraid to speak up, even when she feels the disapproving gazes of others. She likes herself when she is with Him.
She is baffled that she feels no sexual desire for Him. She almost feels that He is already with her, bonded to her on some level that surpasses any physical union.
His touch is electric. When He touches her, all the cells of her body seem to come to attention and she feels like all the Light of The Universe pours into all the empty spaces. She feels full and satisfied.
When He hugs her and she leans against His Chest, she seems to hear thousands of heartbeats coming from inside. It is like a mighty orchestra, and she feels strangely drawn into the middle.
And when He looks at her, His eyes seem to look into her center. He knows her somehow. He knows her and loves her.
She can’t figure out how He could possibly know her so well. And if He does, how could He still love her? Does He love her? And if He does, what should she do?
Does He have marriage in mind? Could she be married to a man like Him? Leave everything behind and follow Him? Go everywhere with Him?
Mary Magdalene was not alone in her thoughts of loving Jesus. Peter, James, John, Thomas, Judas, Jesus’s Mother … they were all considering the feelings of Love they had for Jesus.
He had come into their lives, quietly, but radically changing them. There was something about Him that caused them to want to leave everything behind and follow Him.
There was something about Him that caused them to want to be better and to believe they could be. There was something about the way He looked at them that made each of them feel He was their best friend.
They could not deny they loved Him.
But each time any of them processed this peculiar sense of intimacy, it frightened them. They compared it to Love, as they always understood it, but it did not fit. Nothing had ever been this way before.
Then the crucifixion happened. Satan came in full force.
Satan held up his cruel mirror to their faces and accused them. He called them deserters, deniers, liars, betrayers. He reminded them of their past. He called them prostitutes, whores, adulterers, murderers.
“You said you loved Jesus? Is this how you love Him?” He roared. “Well, no matter, He does not love you. He despises you.”
Satan showed them Jesus’ mangled body and told them that was what God wanted to do to them for their sins.
He told them they had strayed so far that God had forsaken them in their misery and would never take them back.
Then satan screamed into the darkness, “You thought you loved Him … you thought He loved you? Is this Love?”
And in that moment, Love answered. He broke satan’s mirror.
They saw Jesus as He was. They saw The One they loved revealed as The One — Jesus, God and The Holy Spirit — in all His Power and Majesty loving them.
They saw satan revealed as the liar, the accuser, the torturer. They saw him trying to pay them the wages of sin.
And then they saw The One they loved stepping forward and receiving all the wages of their sin.
They knew. They believed. And all but one devoted the rest of their lives to that Love.
“And we have known and believed The Love that God has for us. God is Love and he who abides in Love abides in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16
“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My Love.”