This Easter, we will look at the story of Jesus through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. As we prepare, we’ve asked two beautiful ladies from Schweitzer, Kristin Strong & Marilyn Quigley, to create and share what they learned about her. Click here to read Kristin’s story.
Present at the burial of Jesus and named as the first person to see and hear the voice of the risen Christ, Mary Magdalene is considered one of Jesus’ most loyal disciples. Calling Him “my Lord” and “Master” or “Teacher” (Rabboni) as she wept in the burial garden at sunrise, Mary Magdalene was prepared to return his missing body to the tomb.
When Mary realized the “gardener” was Jesus, she must have reached to touch Him. Quickly Jesus instructed, “Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to…my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”(John 20:14-17) Jesus’ words acknowledge Mary’s spiritual position: she accepted His heavenly Father as her Father and God.
A few hours earlier, she had stood at the foot of the cross refusing to flee with the frightened. And for perhaps the two previous years, this Mary was one of hundreds supporting, following, and learning about the Kingdom of God from the itinerant teacher whose home base was in Capernaum.
Just six miles around the Sea of Galilee’s shore was Magdala, a small fishing village. That town’s name became attached to this particular Mary to distinguish her from many others.
Mary Magdalene is among the few females named in Scripture—twelve times to be specific. What do we know about her past? The Mary born in Magdala understood the hopelessness of invasion by seven demons that demolished her demeanor and dignity. After Jesus removed those hellish forces, Mary dedicated her new life to follow the Person who had given it to her.
Was this woman the former prostitute who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair? Scripture gives zero reason to conflate the two. But if by chance she was, what a tribute to the forgiving, healing power of Christ, who died for all of us sinners! We can discount the many fabrications in novels, musicals, and theological assertions that have falsified Mary of Magdala’s personhood with assumption and imagination.
Mary Magdalene, forever associated with Easter, is worthy of emulation. As she dedicated her remaining days to follow her Lord and healer, we can do the same. As she willingly risked cultural and political pressures for Jesus, so can we. As she gave her financial resources to support the Gospel message, we can sacrifice. Most important, she accepted Jesus as her Rabboni and his Father as God; we should do the same.
Let us stand with Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross on Good Friday and follow to His tomb, then meet Him as our Risen Lord and Master Sunday morning.