Last week we stood with Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross as she witnessed one of the most awful things in humanity take place. She saw the pain, she saw the torture and yet she stayed to love and support others.
This week we were looking at the following verse after the crucifixion:
“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. ” Mark 16:9-10
This question has been buzzing around in my head all week – if I was Mary Magdalene I would be thinking “Why me? Why am I the person that Jesus appears to first? Surely He would want to see his mother, or his best friend, or maybe someone influential who could spread the word quickly.”
Jesus does none of those things. Instead, He appears to someone who has faithfully stood by him in his suffering (like Naomi said, most of the disciples scattered when Jesus was arrested), who faithfully followed him and listened to his teachings and who was faithful to go and visit him as soon as she possible could. Jesus knew Mary’s heart was unwavering towards him and she was rewarded with seeing him first. Are we as unwavering as Mary in our love towards Jesus? Do we faithfully serve him and follow him in all we do? Do we seek him as soon as we possibly can each day?
why a woman?
My husband always tells me that in the time of Jesus, the testimony of a woman wasn’t permissible in court and that no-one would believe a woman over a man. And so it is very strange that Jesus, who lived in and understood that culture, would appear first to a woman. Surely a man would be better as everyone would believe them. In verse 11 of this chapter it actually says as much “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.”. Would the testimony of Peter been better received?
Jesus was not concerned with mere politics and being believed in that culture, but with the message that it gave. Women were important to Jesus – their testimony was just as important to him as any mans – and so he made sure to show that in this part of his story.
why a broken person?
This verse is quick to remind us of where Mary Magdalene started her journey – possessed by seven demons. Did the author do this intentionally to belittle her? Or maybe to remind us that it doesn’t matter where you come from, when Jesus saves you, you become part of his family and are important. Mary is no longer plagued by demons – what a relief that must be! And now she is standing face to face with the risen saviour.
Jesus loves the broken, and so again he is showing that his priorities for when he returns are not what the religious people of the time would think. They would have expected him to appear first to the high priest – the holiest of them all on earth – but no. Jesus again goes against their skewed view of him and appears to a sinner, a broken women, who now has life because of him.
why i love this verse
Over this week I have pondered on how amazing it would have been to be Mary Magdelene right now – the reward for her faithfulness and such an amazing privilege to be the first to see him given her status as a woman with an interesting past. But then I remember that all of this was taken place during “mourning and weeping” and it wouldn’t have just been amazing, it would have been life changing!!! To walk up that path with tear stained eyes, ready to anoint a dead body, and instead run back down it with the greatest news ever! I can’t imagine how Mary would have felt. It has been a joy to step into this verse and Mary’s shoes and feel the love that Jesus had for her, for choosing her as the first person to see him alive again, and to marvel in the message of the resurrection.
We are going to look a bit more into the reaction of the disciples to Mary’s fantastic news, so do join me as we look at this verse together:
“It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Luke 24:10-11
I will be leading the discussion again over in our Facebook group so please do come and join the fun!