Mary Magdalene’s story shows us a lot about Jesus and His mercy and character in contrast to the harshness of the culture at that time and the brutality women face in many parts of the world today. Just last night I was watching a show about a father who killed his own daughter in what is called an “honor” killing as if there could be any honor in a father mercilessly killing his own daughter. Even in lesser ways women get the short end of things. Consider what happens when a man has several lovers. He is considered a man others might be jealous of, but if a woman has several lovers she is considered a bad woman and one other women turn their backs on.
Mary Magdalene was a woman who had a destitute life before she met Jesus. We read in Luke 8 that Jesus delivered her of being possessed by 7 demons. She would have been at the lowest level of society and an outcast. Jesus healed her and welcomed her into His group. We read in other places in the bible after that Mary the Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Jesus brought Mary Magdalene into His group of followers and she then hung out with His mom.
Imagine being Mary Magdalene standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus watching Him die a brutal death. There was the man who had spared her life and given her a new life and He was dying on a cross. She would have seen Him placed into the tomb and perhaps helped prepare His body for burial. That was on a Friday afternoon.
On Sunday morning She goes to the tomb and discovers the huge stone had been rolled away and the body of Jesus is gone. She went to tell His followers thinking someone had done something with it. After His followers Peter and John checked it out and left, Mary stayed there standing outside the tomb weeping which is completely understandable. The man who saved her life had died and she had watched it happen. Then she encountered Jesus. She did not recognize Him at first because her eyes were full of tears, but when He said her name, “Mary”, she threw her arms around Him out of joy. Jesus told her not to hang into Him because He needed to go to the Father. He also told her something that gets my attention.
Jesus told Mary to go tell His followers that He had risen from the dead. In that culture a woman’s testimony did not count for much in a court. Jesus gave her the privilege of being the first person to see Him after His resurrection and He gave her a task- Go Tell. Jesus elevated the status of women and Mary’s story is a great example of that.
As I reflect on Jesus and Mary Magdalene, I think about how what Jesus did for her He wants to do for all of us. He wants to come into our lives no matter what they look like. He wants to forgive us, heal us and raise us to new levels of life. His mercy and grace are beyond measure.