Mary Magdalene develops from a passive witness, to an active partaker and “proclaimer” of the resurrection story. (Scholer :881) Why the change?
Women, have been socialized to embrace emotions and not be afraid or shy to express it. Therefore it is common to find women in situations where people feel vulnerable and lots of emotions are on the surface.
In my community, when one visits the sick, there would be a woman or even a few women present who support the family by helping with the household. This help could include cleaning and cooking as well as caring for the patient. However, it will also include, just sitting next to the bed. If a person is busy passing-on, we will find women or at least a woman present at the bedside – sitting quietly and praying.
Women in “the narratives of the passion” are doing the same. They are present at the side of Jesus as he passes-on. In John 19, Mary Magdalene is one of the women who stood “near the cross of Jesus”. She saw Jesus hanging on the cross and she saw him dying. The same Mary visits the tomb in John 20. The sight of an empty tomb however causes Mary to run to tell the other disciples that Jesus was gone. After others have also seen the empty tomb and they have left, Mary continues to stand at the tomb – weeping.
This willingness of Mary to stay and endure the process of mourning and sadness, leads to her interaction with Jesus Christ – an interaction which changes her life. During a time of deep sadness and pain, which prevents her from seeing or knowing, Jesus Christ calls her on her name and she changes. Mary is able to move beyond her pain and she is able to see. Not only is she able to see, but she is also able to move and to speak. The interaction with the resurrected Christ causes Mary to become the first evangelist who is able to speak about resurrection.
No longer is Mary Magdalene a passive witness who stands powerless –watching death taking Jesus. NO Mary Magdalene becomes an active proclaimer of life after death.
- Am I growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ? Is there any change?
- How do I deal with suffering – an opportunity to embrace my humanity?
Blessing Kamila A, 2002, Gospel of John, in Women’s Bible Commentary, edited by Kroeger C.C, Evans M. J, Intervarsity Press, USA.
Scholer David M, 1992, Gospel of John, in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, editors Joel B, Green, S McKnight, I.H. Marshall, Intervarsity Press, USA.
Ms Melany Adonis is CABSA Churches Channels of Hope Project Coordinator.