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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For She Loved Much

The story begins with a prominent community leader inviting Jesus to a party at his house.  (Luke 7:36) Jesus went, of course, because that’s what Jesus did. He didn’t refuse anyone who gave him an invitation.

Jesus was most often found on the streets, in parks or local cafes engaging in small groups with impromptu crowds, but he was equally comfortable in larger, more formal crowds at churches, colleges and public meeting halls with politicians, priests, academicians. Jesus wouldn’t refuse any request to meet and be with people wherever he went. So Jesus went to the party.

Jesus had risen quickly to popularity. No one really knew that much about him, where he came from or what his credentials were, but anyone who was anyone knew about him by now. Many people wanted to meet him. He would be a draw to Simon’s party.

Of course, people alternately loved him or hated him. Few people were neutral about Jesus. Some people hung on every word he spoke, while others questioned everything, wondering what his intentions were, skeptical of everything he said or did.

We don’t know much about the particular party to which Jesus was invited or the host of the party, other than this name, Simon, and the fact that he was a prominent man in the community. One of the few things we really know about the party is the scandal that took place there.

Simon was a well-known leader in his community. His home was open to friends and neighbors. He was generous with his prominence, wealth and lifestyle. He loved to entertain. Inviting Jesus would be a hip thing to do, given the grass roots popularity  of Jesus.

Inviting Jesus might would be viewed as scandalous by some of Simon’s peers, but he considered himself to be different than them. He fancied himself more open-minded than that. He wasn’t afraid of a little controversy.

But Simon wasn’t at all ready for what would happen next. While his home was an open invitation to friends, colleagues and neighbors, no one who was not of a particular type would dare, surely, to enter those halls dedicated to showing off the influence, prominence and wealth to which Simon had attained. People who had not attained, or at least aspired to attain, a certain stature certainly wouldn’t think of it…. or would they?

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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.


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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