Bible Trek | Galilee Series


Jesus calls Mary Magdalene 

'So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord.' (John 20.18)

Looking around 

At the northeastern tip of Israel, a few miles from the borders to Syria and Jordan, archaeologists have excavated the historic town of Magdala. Their key find – foundations of a 2,000-year-old synagogue – takes us straight back to Jesus and his public ministry along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  

Mary Magdalene, mentioned several times in the Gospels, probably grew up in Magdala before joining the Jesus movement. She has been associated with anything from sainthood to prostitution. The Bible confirms neither. Mary’s significance lies not in biographical details, but in being a witness to the resurrection of Christ. She told the disciples she’d seen the risen Lord and therefore she came to be known as an ‘apostle to the apostles’. 

Notice that Jesus tells Mary not to cling to her: his earthly ministry is coming to an end, and he is going back to God the Father.  

Stepping closer 

‘How could anyone expect rational men to listen to the testimony of a hysterical female?’ (Celsus – 2nd Century Philosopher) 

We may feel outraged at such a statement, but this was the prevailing opinion in Jesus’ day. The experiences of Mary Magdalene show that Jesus saw things differently.    

Contrary to cultural expectations, the risen Jesus met Mary Magdalene first. A pointer towards resurrection reliability, because only a fool would also record a woman’s testimony – which counted for nothing at the time – unless it happened that way! But it shows how important women were to Jesus’ mission. It also shows his heart for outsiders. 

Mary Magdalene was an outsider in every sense. Jesus delivered her of seven spirits – perhaps a symbolic reference to her complete possession by darkness. And yet he set her free.  

You may know what it’s like to be an outsider. Jesus’ heart goes out to you. He wants to bring you in. In on his love, and straight in on his mission. See how Mary became the first tasked to tell the story. With Jesus, full restoration is possible and a full life awaits.