There have been many theories written through the years suggesting why Jesus appeared to Magdalene first, but the answer is really quite simple. It wasn’t that Jesus loved her more than any of the other disciples. Are you ready for this? Hold on to your seats. Drum roll please….Jesus appeared to Magdalene because she quite simply was the one who was still searching for Him! She was the only one still looking. Her desperation for her Savior would not allow her to leave the tombs that day. She would search for Him to the ends of the earth and carry Him back by herself if she had too. Read John’s words:
“Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t realize that it was Jesus. ‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking He was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that He had said these things to her” (John 20:10-18).
Have you considered the reputation of the one Jesus instructs to go tell the others that He has risen from the dead? It’s just like our God to choose the most highly unlikely and improbable person to do the job. He sends a woman who has been tormented by seven demons, a woman not noted for her mental stability, to go the disciples and tell them she saw Jesus walking around in the tombs! John doesn’t tell us that the disciples questioned Mary’s sanity, but the other gospels do. Mark tells us,
“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. She went and told those who had been with Him and who were mourning and weeping (wailing). When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they didn’t believe it” (Mark 16:9-11).
They didn’t believe her.
In the past, this probably would have infuriated Mary. This was a demon she had fought most of her life. People never believed her; they just dismissed her as “Crazy Mary.” “Oh, Crazy Mary is seeing things again!” But I don’t think their disbelief had the power it once had to send her back to the tombs. Now, after seeing the resurrected Jesus, hearing Him call her by her given name, healed yet a second time, Mary simply had to tell the disciples that she had encountered the risen Christ and then walk away. She no longer had to beg and plead for them to believe her as she once did in her younger years. She knew whom she had seen. She had touched Him, clung to His ankles, and cried waterfalls of tears of joy over those nail scarred feet.
This Easter weekend, as we celebrate the risen Christ, let’s take time to get on our knees (if physically possible) and spend time there worshipping the risen Savior. Mary’s position afforded her a wonderful opportunity to be the first to proclaim the life of Jesus. Jesus gave her an assignment no woman or man had ever had in the history of the world. The risen Savior wants to employ all of us for His purposes. May we too be prepared to tell others about Jesus.