Tuesday April 5- A Woman starts the Easter gospel rolling…
After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.
Like in the other gospels, it is Mary Magdalene who is the first person to meet the resurrected Jesus on Easter, and the first one to proclaim the good news of, “Christ is risen!” Mary is the first proclaimer, the first preacher.
Now in the culture of that day it would be the last thing you would want to include in your book, that a woman is the first witness. Women can’t even testify in court. They are not considered reliable.
With Mary Magdalene, you would have another prejudice against here. She has experienced severe attacks from demonic forces which would look like severe mental illness today.
Of course, the early followers would know Mary had been healed, but if you are writing for everyone, which Mark is doing, you just wouldn’t have Mary be your first eyewitness of the most important event in world history, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Unless, of course, it really did happen just this way and Mary is telling the truth. The only reason you would include this first eyewitness in every gospel is if it is true.
Actually, this provides very powerful historical evidence of the truthfulness of the events. You record the worst possible person to rely on as a witness according to the prejudice of the day because, well, it happened this way!
But, needless to say, when Mary tells the others they don’t believe her. They appear stuck in their cultural stereotype of being skeptical of a woman’s testimony. Or the other followers of Jesus need to experience him for themselves.
Do you have any strong stereotypes? Next time you catch yourself doing this, do a brief analysis as to how and why?