Mary Magdalene represents how the world resists giving women credit. Most still think of her as a prostitute. Would she make your list of Jesus’ top ten most loved apostles?
Women named in the Bible
A limited number of women are mentioned in the Bible. Fewer are named. None, it seems, were counted. The miracle of the loaves and fishes fed five thousand excluding women and children. Twelve apostles and many women followed Jesus’ itinerant ministry. How many women traveled with Jesus? We’ll never know this side of heaven. They weren’t important enough to count.
Fearful vs. Faithful
Mary Magdalene was one of the original Galilean disciples. She and the other unnamed women were Jesus’ financial backers. Fearful of being captured and tortured, all the male disciples fled during Jesus’ passion and death. Faithful to the end, women remained with Jesus.
Important information is given to the most valuable person first. Jesus entrusted Mary Magdalene, not his beloved John or Peter, with the announcement of the great joy of the Resurrection according to the gospels of John and Matthew (as well as the longer ending of Mark).
According to John’s gospel, Mary was weeping outside the tomb when she saw Jesus. She failed at first to recognize Him until he addressed her with a single word: “Mary.”
“Rabboni! Teacher,” she cried. He instructed her to go to the disciples and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Jesus entrusted Mary before all others
Jesus entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others when He showed Himself to her after He rose from the dead. Characterized simply as a “woman from whom seven demons had gone out,” it used to bother me that tradition depicted her as a penitent prostitute. Then I remembered the lengths that people go to in order to discredit someone they envy.
I have never prayed to her. I’m thinking if she was important enough for Jesus to show Himself to her first, she’d be an excellent ally for us, don’t you?