The private thoughts of Mary Magdalene
| August 23, 2023 1:00 AM
I come from Magdala, a fishing port on the Sea of Galilee — known for our export of salted fish. No one would know of me were it not for the written record of the life of Jesus. I was really only going about my daily living. I had no desire for personal fame.
Jesus' life and mine met on the day He healed me. You'll read He sent out seven demons — evil spirits — that had tormented me for years. You can imagine the hell I was in. That day changed everything.
I began following Him from place to place — this man who declared Himself the Son of God — and backed it up with His miracles and teaching. Hadn't He touched me with a “work of power.” I longed to be included among His circle.
And I had my own money. Which sounds superficial, I know. But several of us women contributed financially to Jesus and His group of 12 apostles. They were traveling all the time meeting the needs of others. Someone had to think of them.
That's the thing hard to fathom about Jesus. He was the Son of God yet He lived the poorest of lives when it came to material goods. I watched Him give His life away to people. As a wealthy woman He taught me not to make distinctions between rich and poor. Or those who “behaved” and those who didn't.
And the joy in that man! Crowds surrounded Him wherever He went. We all just wanted to be near because He made us feel hopeful. He taught us how to manage our present lives — and He seemed to know so much about heaven — a place we all wondered about.
I couldn't believe it when I learned of His arrest. He'd done only good. Then to find myself at the foot of His cross. He hadn't turned away from me, and I wasn't going to turn away from Him. I really thought He'd do another “work of power” like He'd done for the rest of us. I heard the temple rulers mocking, “He cannot save Himself.”
I thought I'd die, too, watching Him suffer like that. And when it was over — amid a great quaking of the earth that caused us all to cry out — I followed as He was carried to the garden tomb. I didn't want to let Him out of my sight. His body needed prepared for burial, but that had to wait till after the Sabbath.
It was Passover but there was no celebrating among us. The whole city of Jerusalem was agog with what had happened. Honestly, I don't think anyone was doing much celebrating. I felt utterly stricken.
I went early on the third day with two other women, carrying the spices needed to anoint His body. I'd hardly slept. When we arrived at the tomb we had the shock of our lives. An angel so bright in the dark he was like a bolt of lightning stood at the entrance.
The angel's words rang in my heart, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” I turned and once again heard Jesus' familiar voice call my name, “Mary.” My joy — I can't tell you. Because I knew right then what He'd said about being the resurrection and the life was true.
I'd been right to follow Him, to listen to Him, to believe in Him. A troubled woman from Magdala to whom He'd shown mercy — and here I was the first to see the greatest work of power the world would ever know.
I took off running then, the spices dropped and forgotten. I had to tell the others.