Interviewer: Mary Magdalene was a committed follower of Christ. She was at the cross during his crucifixion, visited the tomb that first Sunday morning, and was the first to see Jesus upon the resurrection. Mary welcome. Your friendship with Jesus goes back to the beginning of his ministry. Can you tell me about it?
Mary: I was a resident of the city of Magdala, on the hillside of Galilee. Three years ago Jesus came into those hillsides preaching, healing, and casting out demons. My friends spoke to me about him, because he had the ability to cast out demons. It was public knowledge that I had struggled in this area. I’d sought help again and again but to no avail. The torment was awful. The demons ignited my desires to do shameful things–things that shouldn’t be spoken of. Afterwards the guilt would be unbearable. Sometimes demon possessed people attempted to take their lives. I understood the temptation. You just wanted to live like everybody else, but something else was living in you. I was without hope.
The seven demons in me recognized Jesus. They trembled as he approached me. I could feel their fear. They wanted out. Everyone else looked at Jesus and saw a man, but those spirits recognized him to be something more than that. It was the first time I felt hope. I remember thinking, “They’re going to leave.” And at his words they fled. I became a disciple of Jesus after that. Wherever he went I followed.
Interviewer: I suppose such gratitude makes one a devoted follower.
Mary: I was thankful, but it wasn’t my gratitude that kept me following.
Interviewer: What was it then?
Mary: It was his love. No one loved like Jesus. He especially loved those that no one else would. In a crowd, most looked for those who were important. Jesus looked for those who were forgotten. He had a special interest in the ones who were cast aside. He tenderly touched lepers to heal them. He was patient with the woman caught in adultery. And when he said, “I forgive you,” you knew you were forgiven. Those that others forgot – those were the ones Jesus loved.
Interviewer: And you?
Mary: I was one of the forgotten.
Interviewer: I suppose that made his death especially hard.
Mary: I never left the foot of the cross. I kept praying for a miracle.
Interviewer: Did you see one?
Mary: [Mary nods and smiles knowingly] Three days later.
Interviewer: Can you tell us about it?
Mary: We had prepared the spices and ointments on Friday. I was numb then – still unable to grasp the reality of his death. On Saturday we rested, as was the custom. We all arranged to meet early on Sunday. We left for the tomb while it was still dark.
Interviewer: What did you notice about the garden?
Mary: The stone had been tossed aside. Like someone might flip a coin. The tomb was open. We assumed the body had been taken.
Interviewer: And what did you do?
Mary: I ran to tell the disciples. They were locked in a room, afraid of what might happen to them. John and Peter took off running for the tomb, and I followed behind. They desired to see the scene for themselves. But I followed for another reason.
Interviewer: Which was?
Mary: I just wanted to be where he’d been. I knew the body wasn’t there, but somehow the garden made me feel closer. By the time I reached the tomb, John and Peter were there and gone. I was breathing heavy and my head was spinning. The tears flowed freely then. I could not contain them. I summoned the courage to look into the tomb, and saw two angels. I turned to leave and realized I was not alone. There was a man there. I had not heard him approach.
The tears came in great sobs then. I had hoped to find solace in just being near his resting place. I had planned on anointing his body with the spices as my final act of thankfulness. Now that opportunity was gone too.
I heard the man’s voice: “Woman why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
I replied, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
Interviewer: And what did he say?
Mary: He said my name. Mary. And that’s when I knew. He wasn’t dead. He was alive.
Interviewer: Wow. That must have been a surprise.
Mary: My tears of pain turned to tears of joy. I fell to my knees and worshipped him. I thought I’d lost him once, I didn’t want to lose him again so I clung to him.
Interviewer: For how long?
Mary: I lost track of time. His voice interrupted my sobs of joy. “Mary, go tell my brothers I am going to my Father and yours. My God and yours.”
As I returned to the disciples, I just kept hearing his voice running through my head: Mary. My father and yours. My God and yours.
Jesus had made a way.
He had made a way for his God to become my God and yours.