Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:1-20:1)

“Early on the first day

Of the week,

While it was still dark,

Mary Magdalene

Came to the tomb.”

Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται πρωῒ σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον,

John indicated that on the first day of the week (Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων), while it was still dark (σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης), Mary Magdalene (Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ) came early (ἔρχεται πρωῒ) to the tomb (εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον).  Matthew, chapter 28:1, said that after the sabbath (Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων), as the first day of the week was dawning (τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων), Mary Magdalene (ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ) and the other Mary (καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία) went to see or experience the tomb (θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον).  Mark, chapter 16:1-2, mentioned 3 women.  Mark said that when the Sabbath was over (Καὶ διαγενομένου τοῦ σαββάτου), Mary Magdalene (Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ) and the other Mary (καὶ Μαρία), the mother of James (ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου), as well as Salome (καὶ Σαλώμη) probably the mother of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, came to the tomb.  These women brought spices (ἠγόρασαν ἀρώματα), so that they might go and anoint Jesus (ἵνα ἐλθοῦσαι ἀλείψωσιν αὐτόν).  Luke chapter 24:1, said that on the first day of the week (τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων), at very early dawn (ὄρθρου βαθέως), they came to the tomb (ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα ἦλθον).  They took with them the spices that they had prepared (φέρουσαι ἃ ἡτοίμασαν ἀρώματα).  Who are they?  They were the unnamed women of Galilee, since Luke did not explicitly mention Mary Magdalene.  There is no confusion about the day of the week when the empty tomb was first found.  All four gospel stories have it take place after the Sabbath, on the early morning of the first day of the week, Sunday.  Thus, this would have been the 3rd day since the death of Jesus on Friday.  The idea of visiting a tomb or grave site would not have been out of the question, since this was a common practice.  In all these stories, there was either one or more women, no men, who went to the tomb.  Have you ever visited a tomb?

Mary Magdalene (Lk 8:2-8:2)

“Some women

Who had been cured

Of evil spirits

And infirmities

Were with him also.

Mary,

Called Magdalene,

From whom

Seven demons

Had gone out,

Was with him also.”

 

καὶ γυναῖκές τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν καὶ ἀσθενειῶν, Μαρία ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή, ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει,

 

Luke uniquely said that some women (καὶ γυναῖκές), who had been cured of evil spirits (τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν) and other infirmities (καὶ ἀσθενειῶν), were with him also.  Mary (Μαρία), called Magdalene (ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή), from whom 7 demons had departed (ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει) was with him also.  This Mary Magdalene, who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers, probably came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  She was explicitly mentioned by name 12 times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the other apostles, indicating her importance.  She certainly was a key figure in the gospel stories about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus apparently healed her in some way that is not indicated, since Luke said that 7 demons had been driven out of her, a statement that Mark, chapter 16:9, also said.  She helped support Jesus’ ministry, indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy.  This Mary was a central figure in later apocryphal Gnostic Christian writings.  She had a very popular following in the Middle Ages as the repentant woman.  In the late 20th century, she became more popular with her role in the play of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Jesus Christ Super Star” (1971) and Dan Brown’s novel and movie “Da Vinci Code” (2003 and 2006).  What do you think about Mary Magdalene?

The sinning woman with oil (Lk 7:37-7:37)

“A woman,

Who was a sinner

In that town,

Learned

That Jesus

Was eating

In the Pharisee’s house.

She brought

An alabaster bottle

Of Myron ointment.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ ἥτις ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἁμαρτωλός, καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου, κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου

 

Luke said that a woman who was a sinner (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ…ἁμαρτωλός) in that town (ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει) learned or knew (καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα) that Jesus was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house (ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου).  She brought an alabaster bottle of oil, ointment, or Myron (κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου).  Her specific sin was not mentioned here, but she might have been a prostitute, since she was publically known in the town as a sinner by many of those there at this dinner party.  However, she brought an elegant alabaster bottle of oil or Myron.   There was a similar story with a sinning woman coming with a jar of oil in Matthew, chapter 26:6, Mark, chapter 14:3, and John, chapter 12:1, but within a different context, at Bethany and nearly right before the crucifixion of Jesus.  John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  Some have identified this sinning woman as Mary Magdalene.  Here Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster oil bottle.  Do you know any sinning women?

The two walking disciples (Mk 16:12-16:12)

“After this,

Jesus appeared

In another form

To two of them,

As they were going walking

Into the country.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν·

 

This appearance of Jesus to these 2 men walking in the country is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 24:13-35, with the 2 disciples walking near the village of Emmaus, but in an abbreviated form.  This long ending of Mark said that after this initial announcement by Mary Magdalene (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα), Jesus appeared in another form (ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ) to 2 of his disciples as they were walking (δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν) into the country (πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν).  These disciples are not named, nor is there any mention of where they are.

They did not believe Mary (Mk 16:11-16:11)

“But when they heard

That he was alive,

And had been seen

By Mary Magdalene,

They would not believe it.”

 

κἀκεῖνοι ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ζῇ καὶ ἐθεάθη ὑπ’ αὐτῆς ἠπίστησαν.

 

This long ending of Mark is the only text to indicate that there was some doubt about the resurrection of Jesus, although Matthew, chapter 28:17, indicated some doubt on the part of the apostles.  John, chapter 20:24-29, had the doubting Thomas story.  Here, the text said that when they heard that Jesus was alive (κἀκεῖνοι ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ζῇ), and had been seen by Mary Magdalene (καὶ ἐθεάθη ὑπ’ αὐτῆς), they would not believe it (ἠπίστησαν).  They had some skepticism about this story about the risen Jesus, perhaps because Mary Magdalene, a woman, was bringing them this news.

They were astonished and afraid (Mk 16:8-16:8)

“Thus,

The women went out.

They fled

From the tomb.

Terror

And amazement

Had seized them.

They said nothing

To anyone.

They were afraid.”

 

καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις· καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν· ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.

 

This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:8, but there they left with joy and fear and told the other disciples.  Luke, chapter 24:10, had Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and the other women tell the apostles about the resurrection.  In John, chapter 20:2, Mary Magdalene told Peter and the other beloved disciple about Jesus’ resurrection.  Here Mark said that these 3 women, left or fled from the tomb (καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου) with both terror and amazement (εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις).  However, they did not tell anyone (καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν) because they were so afraid (ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ).  This seems to be in contradiction with the other 3 gospel stories.

Go tell the disciples (Mk 16:7-16:7)

“But go!

Tell his disciples!

Tell Peter!

He is going

Ahead of you

To Galilee!

There you will see him,

Just as he told you.”

 

ἀλλὰ ὑπάγετε εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῷ Πέτρῳ ὅτι Προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν· ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε, καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν.

 

This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:6-7, but there was no specific mention of Peter there.  Luke, chapter 24:9, had the women tell the 11 apostles, about the resurrection of Jesus without being told to do so.  John, chapter 20:2, had Mary Magdalene tell Peter and the other disciple about Jesus’ resurrection without anyone telling her to do so.  Mark said that this man told these 3 women to go tell the disciples of Jesus (ἀλλὰ ὑπάγετε εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) and Peter (καὶ τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he was going to go ahead of them into Galilee (ὅτι Προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν).  There, they would see him (ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε) without mentioning any specific destination, just as he had told them beforehand (καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν).  Peter got special mention.  They would all get together in some undisclosed place in Galilee.