The Resurrection from the Point of View of Mary Magdalene

In the resurrected Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female. We are all one.

Mary Magdalene, Mary, & Salom walking up to the bright empty tomb of Jesus Christ early Sunday morning

Three days and two night ago, Mary’s entire world came crashing down. The earth opened up and swallowed it into an abyss of darkness and confusion, leaving only soul crushing grief, bewilderment, and emptiness.

She barely had enough time to get him down from that tree on which he had died. Fortunately, a very generous man offered a tomb for his body and helped her prepare the body before Sabbath began. (John 19:42)

The crash and whirl of those events that came upon them in a rushing torrent so quickly that they were overwhelmed, reeling, barely able to breath from beginning to end, ended with his death. The commotion of last minute burial gave way to the silence weight of yawning emptiness and overwhelming grief.

All the men abandoned him as their world began to unravel. The petty squabbling that broke up dinner the night before left Mary confused about what Jesus had been saying. Jesus was trying to tell them something important, but she could only remember bits and pieces….

Something about a cup… and pouring out his blood and…. It was all surreal. It was like Jesus knew what was going to happen. She could see it in his eyes. He was resigned to it.

All the mysterious things Jesus said during the exciting and hopeful years traveling from place to place with the Jesus played in her mind like an epitaph that would not end. The mystery had seemed poignant and momentous, but ominous. Through the looming darkness, the slight flame of hope sputtered.

Jesus wouldn’t let anyone try to defend him. He just gave himself up. He utterly gave himself over to them. It was painful to watch, but even  his weakness had nobility about it. She wept.

And those men who were always arguing about who was the greatest: they didn’t do anything. Jesus asked them to stay awake with him and pray, but they didn’t. It was like Jesus knew, but he couldn’t tell them. They were too dull to realize Jesus needed them!

They could have, at least, gone with him, but they left him! They knew what was happening, though, though they pretended not to know, not to care.  Mary even heard Peter say he didn’t know Jesus! After all the time they spent with him!

Mary and the other women would not leave him. They saw the whole, unimaginable thing. And John, at least he was there.

If it wasn’t for Joseph, who knows where his body would have ended up. Mary was grateful that Joseph owned a tomb nearby and even more grateful that Joseph and the others helped with the body (Luke 23:50-53), though Mary couldn’t help but wonder where they were when Jesus needed them. Maybe they could have stopped it.

They had no time to prepare him properly. It was the Sabbath, and night was upon them. The hours labored by. It seemed like Jesus lay there for an eternity through the night. everything weighed so heavily on Mary’s heart. She needed to get to him.

Joseph and Nicodemus came through with the spices and ointments for Mary to prepare the body in the morning. (Luke 23:56) She couldn’t sleep anyway. She was up before the dawn.

Tears came in waves. She could hardly see at times. The tears she didn’t manage to wipe way with the back of her hands, and in between they fell from her cheeks into the mixture of ointment and spices. She remembered wiping tears from his feet with her hair, and she sobbed.

Mary could not adequately express the depth of gratitude for Jesus for rescuing her from the demons that haunted and tormented her from her youth. She didn’t care what anyone thought. Nothing had been more precious to her than the ointments she collected… until Jesus set her free. She would have spent her entire life pouring her very self out for him.

She desperately longed to wind the time back.

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Previewing the Minimal Facts Critique of the Resurrection

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If Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead, Christians are to be pitied above all people. These are not my words, or even the words of a famous pastor or teacher. These are the words of Paul right out of his first letter to the Corinthians:

“[I]f Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified [concerning] God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise…. and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:14-15, 17-19)

Christianity, far from being closed to reason, invites investigation. The importance of reason is built into the greatest commandment: love God with all your heart, soul and mind.

The earliest adherents to Christianity did not hide the fact that the resurrection of Christ is the central tenet of Christianity. They put it out there, front and center, and they were not shy to state the importance of the resurrection.

If the resurrection really happened, it is the single most important event in human history. If it is false, it is the single most influential hoax of all time. Christianity is built on the foundation of the resurrection, and without it, the entire structure of Christianity crumbles.

Dr Gary Habermas knew this when he was struggling with his faith, doubting the veracity of the Bible and Christianity. He knew that the resurrection was the central and crucial component of Christianity. If the resurrection did not happen, not only is the tomb not empty, Christianity is a complete and utter sham.

That was over 30 years ago when Dr. Habermas began exploring the claim that Jesus rose from the dead to confirm or deny his own doubts. That personal exploration led to a career of scholarship on the subject of the resurrection.

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Women and the Resurrection Story

The centrality of women in the resurrection story is unmistakable, and at least two very significant points flow from that point.

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Women have suffered under the dominion and control of men since the beginning of recorded history (and before, no doubt). The culture in the US today, though, is much different than at any other time in history. Women have gained status they have never before had. As an example, about 65% of all college students in the US are women. The political, cultural and societal winds have shifted.

Most of the world, however, is not even close to that benchmark yet. In Muslim countries, in particular, women continue to be treated in ways that more “western” sensibilities consider backward and even barbarian. But, the historical subjugation of women is not just a Muslim thing; it has been widespread and pervasive going far back in time.

This may seem like an odd backdrop to the resurrection story, but women and the resurrection story are forever intertwined in one of the most progressive and remarkably dignified ways in ancient literature.

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