Mary Magdalene, the one released from seven demons, lingers in the garden weeping, her tears watering the soil. She is known as the "apostle to the apostles" in Church history, and for most of us, she appears to be the female headliner in the story of Holy Week. We witness her tears of deep sorrow, her unawareness that she kneels moments away from her commissioning as the first evangelist to spread the news that He is Risen, just as he said.
Our hearts will jump as her heart leaps for joy!
From Reclaiming Eve:
"It wasn't the empty tomb that gave Mary Magdalene hope again; it was the voice of the very much alive Jesus that made her physically jump for joy. And the fact that he appeared first to her signaled a dramatic departure from relationships as usual. For as a women in her culture, Mary Magdalene held few rights. She would never hold up as an official eyewitness to anything in court. She was likely aware that the pious male Jews thanked God regularly that they were not born as women. She knew her place, and her place would always be second.
Apparently Jesus did not get the memo. After what historians point to as the pivotal events in all of human history—Christ's death and Resurrection—Jesus chose to appear not to his circle of male disciples, but to a female disciple who loved and served him faithfully. And he told her to immediately tell the 12 male disciples. What is so terribly ironic in all of this is that none of them believed her (Mark 16:11). Yet Mary would go down in history as the "apostle to the apostles"—the one chosen by Jesus to spread the good news" (p. 112).
But why, Lord, we ask? Why appear to a woman whose word would not immediately be trusted?
All of the women of Holy Week, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, the ones last at the cross and first to the tomb, remind me of something about all of the daughters of Eve.
They brought the very thing we women are afraid to show—our neediness—to the feet of the humble rabbi. Demons were released. Insecurities erased. Religious foundations shaken and reset by the inbreaking Kingdom of Jesus.
These women sat at his feet. They felt his touch, simple and pure. Scandalous though it may have been, they dined with him—some of them supplying his food out of their funds—receiving back immeasurably more than they gave. Freedom from sin, release from shame—the teaching he offered them, filled with life, when they became his disciples.
At the cross their hearts broke in two, but the Life-giver, the Grave-robber, was already knitting them back together again. They came broken, needy, desperate. They left amazed, restored, and capable of doing exactly what Jesus asked of them. Released to lead in loving God and neighbor. Lifted up to resist injustice and free the oppressed. Taught so winsomely to teach others to become his disciples.
And don't you see, we are the women of the Holy Week. We need demons rebuked. We suffer from insecurity and inferiority and shame. What we need is a Savior, a lifter of our heads. The abused ones, and the disregarded and marginalized ones, and the seemingly healthy ones, too, the young and the aging, the vibrant and the dying. Like the women of the Holy Week, we come needy and walk away whole, no matter our circumstance. And we women know, this is too much freedom to keep to ourselves. It is Holy Week, and Sunday's coming, and we must go and tell.
Mary Magdalene, the one released from seven demons, lingers in the garden weeping, her tears watering the soil.
Our hearts will jump as her heart leaps for joy.
Watch a video short of Mary Magdalene's story here. How do the women of Holy Week point you to freedom and wholeness in Christ?
On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!” — Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church