Mary Magdalene is one of the most important and influential women in the New Testament. She had seven demons, which presumably Jesus cast out. She was a wealthy woman (Luke 8:2-3) and joined other wealthy, influential Galilean women who provided for Jesus and his disciples. Mary Magdalene is mentioned fourteen times in the Bible and in eight of those, she is mentioned along with other women. Whenever she is mentioned with other women, her name appears first, signifying her importance.
Unlike most of the disciples, Mary was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died. When Peter and John ran to the tomb after hearing it was empty, they eventually went home, not understanding what Jesus said about being raised from the dead. It was Mary Magdalene, however, who stayed at the tomb alone. While she was standing there, Jesus appeared to her.
The angels asked Mary why she was weeping. She said, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they laid him” (John 20:13 ESV). Then Jesus appeared to her and also asked why she was weeping and who she was seeking. Not knowing it was Jesus, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away” (vs. 15). Jesus answered, “Mary.” Then she recognized him and clung to him.
Jesus told her not to cling to him because he had yet to ascend. Instead, Jesus told her to go to the disciples and tell them that “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (vs. 17). Mary effectively became the first person to proclaim the risen Christ. Jesus could have easily appeared to Peter and John but he didn’t. He waited until they went home to appear to Mary. He intentionally chose Mary to be the person to carry the message out that the Christ was risen from the dead! Mary–the one who was plagued with seven demons. Mary–a woman who was looked down on in Jesus’ day. Jesus’ resurrection is a story of hope and restoration, of salvation and equality.