She was the first to see the risen Lord
The women rose while it was still dark.
Every gospel account shows women rising before dark to go to the tomb. When they arrived, Jesus had already risen from the dead.
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go to anoint him. (Mark 16:1, also Matthew 28:1, Luke 23:55, John 20:1)
An angel told the news. Jesus was not there.
And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb…And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. (Mark 16:1-2-5-6)
The angel told them to go spread the news.
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:8)
But who saw the risen Lord first?
The gospel accounts vary a bit. I can only imagine the stir the news about Jesus had caused. One of the gospels indicates some women saw him first, but two of the gospels indicate Mary Magdalene was the first.
Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9)
Having said this she turned around and saw Jesus standing but she did not know it was Jesus….Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni! (which means teacher) (John 20:14)
History has marred Mary Magdalene’s reputation.
- She was named after her town, Magdala, on the sea of Galilee.
This town had a reputation of corruption brought about by excessive wealth.
- She became erroneously associated with a definition of magdalene with a small m!
The definition of magdalene is defined as 1. reformed prostitute 2. a house of refuge or reformatory for prostitutes. (p. 142) Go ahead, Google it.
- Perhaps this is why Italian painters depicted her as a penitent sinner.
(To hear my talk on Mary Magdalene, click HERE.)
This is the only certain thing the Bible says about her.
She was delivered of seven demons. Period. That is the only thing we know for certain.
…and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; (Luke 8:2)
The longer ending of Mark says, ” 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.” (Mark 16:9)
She was special.
Not only did Italian artist paint her incorrectly, so has Hollywood, and so has the church. Many people had demons cast out of them in the Bible, but none had a name, and none reported a specific number of demons. Only Mary.
Her freedom from such bondage must have been unbelievable. Indescribable.
No wonder she never left Jesus’ side.
No wonder she watched him crucified even after the disciples had fled. No wonder she followed Joseph of Arimathea to the tomb. No wonder she rose before sunrise to return to the tomb.
Let’s never leave His side either.
Jesus may not have cast seven demons out of us but He paid for all of our sins before a holy God. He conquered death, which is why we can trust His promise for eternal life. He paid for our sins, so we can live in freedom.
I hope you have enjoyed the time we have spent pondering Isaiah 53:3 for Lent this year. Doing so prepared my heart for today. I hope it did the same for you.
He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. (Isaiah 53:3, NLT)
All this, yet He died for us and rose again.
Happy Easter, everyone.
Picture Explanation: I dug through some old Easter pictures this week. I miss how beautifully my daughters could decorate eggs. My son and I did the task alone this year and we didn’t do as well, but we enjoyed the time. I also can’t get enough pictures of those little hands with dimples under each finger, or of that young boy wearing a smile with missing teeth and a clip-on tie. He will be learning how to drive a car this summer.
Need to catch up on the ponderings of Isaiah 53:3 this Lent? Click HERE to ponder that life as a Christian may required sorrow. Click HERE to ponder His silence when mocked. Click HERE to ponder His shredded flesh for our sin. Click HERE to ponder that He went to the cross alone. Click HERE to learn He had us on His mind all along. Click HERE to study women in the Easter story.
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