Mary Magdaline - What was her role in Jesus' resurrection?
The role of Mary Magdalene in Christ's resurrection began from her very first appearance in the Gospels. She became a tenacious follower from the time Jesus exorcised seven demons from her (Luke 8:2, Mark 15:41). Perhaps of a well-born family, she, with other women of wealth, expressed appreciation to Jesus through their generous financial support. They accompanied Him and His disciples as often as their family and social obligations permitted. Her emotional and spiritual attachment to Jesus naturally strengthened as time passed. However, any innuendo suggesting a physical relationship between them is flagrant blasphemy of God's Son, who recognized only a spiritual family (Mark 3:31-35).
Mary Magdalene's role in Christ's resurrection grew by her devotion to Jesus during His six hours on the cross. Following the entourage from Jerusalem, she remained on site until His death (Matthew 27:55-56). That aside reeks of integrity, given the ferocious loyalty with which women have always supported the spiritual life.
Mary Magdalene's role in Christ's resurrection became certain by her, and the other women's, loyalty to Christ's corpse. They accompanied Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to the garden and sat opposite the tomb as the man lovingly placed the precious body inside. With the rest, they plunged into grief-stricken despair as servants rolled the stone in place (Matthew 27:61). Devastated beyond tears, they returned home to prepare spices and perfumes to embalm the body after the Sabbath (Luke 23:55-56).
Mary Magdalene's role in Christ's resurrection became inevitable when she and other women took their spices to the tomb at dawn Sunday morning. Their remarkable action-adding to the rich man's superfluity of seventy-five pounds their own store of spices-proved that love can never do enough for its object.
Mary Magdalene's role in Christ's resurrection reached its ultimate expression in her personal rendezvous with Jesus at the tomb (John 20:10-18). However, it seems that the meeting revealed more than the emotional, sentimental message of the hymn In The Garden.
Luke 24:1 and the following verses record their initial visit to the tomb, where the angels questioned their search for the LIVING among DEAD mortals. In a monumental distinction, they specifically spoke of Christ's bodily resurrection - not the removal of His corpse from the tomb. They even underscored it by referring to Christ's promise of resurrection. The women's remembrance of Christ's words obviously didn't translate into understanding.
Leaving the tomb, the women told all the apostles generally (Luke 24:9), and Peter and John particularly (John 20:2), that THEY, that is, the angels, had taken Christ's body, but no one knew where. The energized John and Peter raced for the tomb (John 20:3-9). After inspecting it, they left.
John 20:10 recorded Mary Magdalene's return to the tomb after the men left. Nevertheless, despite angelic eyewitness affirmation of Christ's resurrection, Christ's promise to rise, and her witness to that, Mary stood outside the tomb, weeping. She forlornly bent over and looked inside, where her adjusted eyes saw two angelic beings and heard their assurance of Christ's resurrection. Jesus meanwhile appeared, stood close to Mary and asked the reason for her tears. Drawn to the voice, she turned to see; but temporarily blinded by weeping and the bright morning light, she didn't recognize Jesus. Only when He called her name did Mary KNOW that Jesus lived and stood beside her.
Mary's reluctance to accept the Master's resurrection reflected the adamant skepticism in every disciple. And while the empty tomb raised questions and hopes, it took the personal, visible appearance of Jesus to convince the disciples, Mary Magdalene included. This is evidence of integrity. The hard-headed men and women in that generation weren't interested in believing an illusion. Jesus had to indisputably prove that He lived after being buried. In another mark of integrity, once He proved it, they believed it with a dogged perseverance they never surrendered.
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