After looking at who Mary Magdalene was last week, we turn to the next time Mary Magdalene was mentioned in the gospels – at Jesus’ crucifixion.
This time, we see Mary with some other women (the translation is unclear whether “his mother’s sister” and “Mary, wife of Cleopas” are separate people or the same), watching her saviour die.
In some ways, it’s very easy to put ourselves into Mary’s shoes here. Watching her Lord and Saviour be crucified must have been horrendous for her. Watching the man who had saved her from demonic possession be nailed to a cross. Hearing his final words. Seeing his torture and agony.
The women may have been putting themselves in a very dangerous position. We know that John was there, from the words Jesus spoke to Mary. However, we also know that most of the disciples fled, for fear of their own arrest and execution, on the night before the crucifixion. So perhaps the women were risking their own lives by being there.
Witness to the crucifixion
Interestingly, bearing in mind that Mary Magdalene is the first to see the resurrected Jesus, she is mentioned by three of the four gospels as being present. I think this detail is really important. She didn’t just hear about his death from other people: she saw every single agonising moment of it. She really was faithful to Jesus until the end, perhaps hoping that he would save himself.
Or perhaps, Mary, the mother of Jesus, had told her that Jesus must die. I imagine they comforted each other in these hours, clinging to each other. We know that Mary Magdalene travelled around, following Jesus with the other women. There must have been an amazing community of women together, supporting and encouraging one another. And here, they comfort each other.
We’ll be looking at Mary 16:9-10:
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.