Mary Magdalene - 23 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

We first hear about Mary Magdalene in Luke 8:2, where we read about the women who accompanied Jesus and the Twelve on their travels to spread the gospel. Mary came from the town of Magdala on the western bank of the Sea of Galilee. She was the one from whom seven demons had been driven out.

The applicable footnote of ‘Die Bybel: 2020-vertaling’ mentions that she is always called Mary the woman from Magdala, so we do not confuse her with any other Mary. Along with the other women in the group, she used her own resources to help Jesus and his disciples. Some Bible commentators have tried to link her with the woman who anointed Jesus, but there are no grounds for that.

The next time we meet her is at the cross, where she is mentioned along with other women like Mary the mother of Jesus and her sister, as well as another Mary, wife of Clopas. Just for interest sake, the sister of Mary was most probably Salome, wife of Zebedee and mother of John and James. That would make John and James Jesus’ cousins. Luke also relates that the women who followed Jesus from Galilee accompanied Joseph of Arimathea in order to be present at the burial, so we can assume that Mary Magdalene was also present there.

The many months she travelled with Jesus, the many times the must have prepared a meal for him, washed his clothes, talked with him and witnessed the miracles that he performed, did not prepare her for the encounter early on the Sunday morning at the empty tomb. Of all the times that she had met Jesus, this was the most important one. To meet the resurrected Jesus is, for every one of us, the most important meeting we will ever have.

The moment that she finally recognised Jesus, when he called out her name, everything fell into place for her and for us. In unison with Mary, we can only say, “Rabboni, it is You, You are alive.”

Prayer: I want to sing with joy, “Jesus lives! The victr’y’s won. Death no longer can appall me. Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done.” Thank you for an empty tomb, thank you that you also called me by name, thank you that I am not afraid of death any more. Amen