First Witness to the Resurrection
The Gospel of Luke made it clear that the roles of women in the ministry of Jesus Christ were significant:
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3)
When we think of Jesus’ disciples we may primarily be thinking of the twelve that Jesus personally chose to follow Him. They were not alone, however. They were supported by many faithful women of which Mary Magdalene was included. She was not only included, she was prominent. She was the courageous and faithful one. When Jesus’ disciples deserted Him at the cross she was there:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25)
Jesus could have chosen any one of the twelve disciples to reveal Himself to after His resurrection. But he chose a woman – Mary Magdalene:
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. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. (Mark 16:9-10)
Why did Jesus choose her? The testimonies of women were often considered unreliable. In fact, the disciples did not believer Mary’s testimony. Reading from Luke’s Gospel:
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. (Luke 24:10-11)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ changed the order of things. Jesus attempted to explain this new order to His disciples before His crucifixion, but they had trouble understanding what He was telling them:
But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. (Mark 9:34-35)
Mary Magdalene was a primary example of the servant leader who was faithful in her duties, following in the footsteps of her LORD. We remember her today as the resurrection’s first witness.
Will we follow the example of Mary Magdalene? Will be a servant of others? Will we boldly proclaim the resurrection in our day, no matter what others may say or think? And will we standby Jesus under difficult circumstances? We will when we put our whole trust in Jesus as did Mary Magdalene.