Jesus was enjoying a feast with friends. Occasionally, however, he glanced towards the garden by the lake and watched Mary as she walked quietly, slowly through it, touching an occasional flower. She didn’t look happy, but he knew, that in her heart, she was seeking Jehovah. Jesus felt strongly that he was to pray over her and bring her to freedom, but he would not go until he received the call from his Father.
Suddenly, the sun was setting. As he glanced at it over the lake, and the colorfulness, he heard, “Go, Son. Go now.”
Jesus immediately walked to the garden. She had not looked away from the lilies, and had not seen him.
"Mary," he called. "Come here."
She looked up in shock, her eyes wide. Momentarily, she froze, a flower in her hand. Then, slowly, Mary approached him. She couldn't stop the tears welling in her eyes. They streaked down her cheeks. She was defeated and extremely weary.
"Mary," he said with gentle authority, "it's time we talked.You've avoided the change. That cannot continue."
Mary saw a stone bench nearby, slowly walked to it and sat down. Her shoulders slumped and her hands dropped limply into her lap, the bright lilies falling to her feet.
Jesus sat next to her. "Mary," he said, "I know you've been hurt and you've sinned. I know why you do what you do, and why you say what you say. I feel the same pain in my heart that you feel. I have come to understand rejection, and fear, and shame ... not for myself, but for the others like you. Oh, my heart is for you."
"Jesus," she said quietly, "you've been so patient with me. Before this, every man I've known has pushed into my life, stirred things up, and left as quickly as possible – and the hate in my heart increased.” She looked directing into his eyes for the first time. “You've been kind, and thoughtful, and treated me with respect. Now, I want to be free to live as I see you live...free from the burdens of life, and, even more, I want to be free from sin."
"Mary, I want to ask you a final time. Do you truly want to be free? Do you truly realize that with freedom comes responsibility? Do you understand the depth of the freedom you are seeking? I want you to be a whole person ... with life and joy and peace flowing through your soul."
"What must I do to be free? I do desire it with all my heart. There is nothing else in life for me." She paused. "Do you know that before we met I had decided to kill myself?" Immediately, her eyes rolled and a trace of a smile crossed her lips as she thought, “Of course, he knew!”
Without answering, he took her face gently in his hands and spoke very quietly, but with supreme authority. "Satan, you have harbored your demons in Mary's life, but you have no right to stay. Leave now, and never return."
As he spoke, the air around them was filled with rebuke. And, although rebuke was something Mary had learned to live with, and even to expect, she knew he wasn't rebuking her. It happened quietly, with no excited frenzy, no overwhelming emotion. Her tormentors left ... one by one ... until all seven fled like mists fleeing before the sun. The darkness in her soul was replaced with dazzling brightness. The wall encasing her heart shattered and she .. was .. free.
Mary's joy was instantaneous and full. Finally at peace, she had the assurance that no more voices would taunt her from within, reminding her of her sin, of her worthlessness, of her guilt. She did not hear their names as these cohorts of Satan left. She was enveloped in the goodness and gentleness of the person – of the presence – of Jesus.