The Four Messages Of Mary Magdalene


Mary Magdalene, Jusepe Ribera, 1641

Mary of Magdala, I believe, has four messages to give us. First of all, she is a disciple of Jesus. It was unknown at that time for women to be disciples of rabbis, and yet all four evangelists mention her, while Luke and Matthew specifically state that she and some others looked after Jesus and his closest disciples.

Her message here is one of service, for she considered it an honour to minister to the Lord. This she did to the end, when she came with others to anoint his crucified body as it lay in the tomb.

You could say she was a fragile person, but what a beautiful lesson for us to know that Jesus can use us even when we are damaged and have known sin or distress or sickness.The world needs to hear that message. Maybe that’s the real reason why the figure of Mary Magdalene is so prominent today.

Finally, there is the role of Mary Magdalene as the ‘first announcer of the Resurrection’. Even when the other disciples doubt her word, she is faithful in proclaiming the message that he is risen. Did Jesus choose a woman for this role because of the inherent fidelity of a woman’s heart? Despite the apostles’ incredulity, she stuck to her guns. In Zeffirelli’s film, Jesus of Nazareth, Mary is given the line, ‘He told me to tell you, and I have done so!’ That about sums up her courage and fidelity. Mary Magdalene was the first to grasp this astonishing truth, and to proclaim it to the world.