Jesus entrusted his news – the news of the resurrection – to Mary Magdalene, one of his closest followers from whom he had cast out demons. Mary had traveled extensively with the disciples of Jesus and was considered a close friend of the Lord…
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
In a time in which women had no place of prominence in society and few rights, Jesus held a high view of women and appeared first to Mary. Much has been made of this in terms of supporting women’s rights based on Jesus’ own views.
When we are in Christ, there is no male or female (Galatians 3:28). Always with God, however, the humble shall be exalted (James 4:6, Psalm 147:6). There is undoubtedly a message in Jesus’ appearance to Mary first.
Don’t overlook, however, that there is also a plan of God to establish the resurrection and in doing so, the church of Jesus Christ based on his resurrection. As God chose who would herald Jesus’ rising from the dead, he chose someone whom the disciples would believe and rely upon in the witness to the resurrection.
At first, Mary’s claim that the tomb was empty was greeted with skepticism, yet remember that even Thomas wouldn’t believe until he saw Jesus himself. The first response was skepticism, yet these first ones to see the Lord alive would be the foundational witnesses to the entire Christian church.
Mary, who had demons cast from her; Mary, upon whom many have looked down and even characterized as a prostitute or a loose woman; Mary, who loved the Lord is witness to God’s power in raising his son.