Summary: This Easter message comes from Mark 16 and examines various evidences for the validity of the Resurrection.
FOLLOWING FROM GALILEE TO GOLGATHA TO THE GRAVE
Follow The Leader – 7
Who was the most devoted follower of Jesus Christ prior to Pentecost? This may surprise some of you, but I would actually suggest that it may have been Mary Magdalene. How did I get there? Reading the DaVinci Code? Studying the Gospel of Thomas? Watching the Jesus’ Family Tomb documentary? No, it was none of those that led me to this conclusion. Rather it was from studying the Gospel of Mark.
I think it is rather ridiculous that some are suggesting today that the established church worked to cover up Mary Magdalene’s influence and devotion and deleted the so-called gospels that emphasized her role and replaced them with the four gospels we have in our Bibles today. The reason I think that is ridiculous is because the Gospel of Mark, which was written by Mark, but inspired perhaps even dictated by Peter, does absolutely nothing to diminish Mary Magdalene and enhance the apostles. In fact, it does exactly the opposite. This is one of the reasons I know that the gospel is accurate. If Peter were making up the story, he would have made up a story that made him look good rather than one that made him look like a coward.
Look at the record of Mary’s devotion found in Mark. When Jesus was hanging on the cross dieing a horrible death, where was Peter? Peter denied that he even knew Jesus and ran away. Where was Mary Magdalene? Mark 15:40-41, “Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.” These women had followed Jesus all the way from Galilee to Golgotha. They had cared for his needs in the past and they weren’t about to abandon him now, which was more than could be said for the disciples.
When Jesus died Mary was still there. After he died it seems that the rest of the women went back to wherever they were staying, but not Mary. She was still there when Joseph of Arimathea came to get his body for burial. Mark 15:47, “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.” Luke 23:55, “The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.” That verse tells us they did more than just tag along and see where the tomb was. They also must have went in and looked around the tomb and saw how his body was laid in the tomb. It is no stretch of the imagination to see these ladies who were used to caring for Jesus’ needs helping Joseph to wrap the body. Mary Magdalene had followed Jesus from Galilee to Golgotha and now even to the grave.
At dawn on the first day of the week where was Peter? He was still in hiding with the rest of the disciples. Where was Mary? She already was on her way back to the tomb. Mark16:1-2, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb…”
When Jesus rose from the dead to whom did he first appear? You guessed it – Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9, “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” When Jesus came back from the dead he didn’t immediately go to the disciples. He didn’t reveal himself to the inner circle of Peter, James and John. No. He first went to Mary Magdalene. She was the one who had been faithful to follow him from Galilee to Golgotha to the grave and beyond.
Mary was the perfect choice to be the first person to give testimony to the resurrection of Christ. She watched as he was nailed to the cross. She watched as he died. She watched as he was taken down, wrapped in a cloth and buried in the tomb. She was the first to look into the empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday. And she was the first to see him alive from the dead.
So I ask you again. Who was the most devoted follower of Jesus Christ prior to Pentecost? The biblical evidence leaves only one choice. There is no hint of a cover up here. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of Mary Magdalene just because of some of the kooky revisionist histories that are being promoted today. She was obviously someone who loved the Lord very much. She was clearly someone who was very close to the Lord. His wife? I’m not buying any of that for a minute. Only in today’s sick, twisted world would sex be artificially inserted into their relationship.