The Lesson of Mary Magdalene: It's Love That Brings Us Closer to God
Mary Magdalene loved Jesus. When he died, her heart was broken.
It is vital to begin contemplation of the resurrection by realizing that Jesus appeared to those who loved him. Jesus did not appear to Pilate or Judas. Jesus did not appear to the high priest, the centurion, or the Pharisees. In the Gospel accounts Jesus appeared only to his disciples and friends.
Most of these disciples had failed him completely. Peter abandoned him and denied even knowing him. The majority of his disciples fled his crucifixion, leaving him to die a violent death without their presence or support. But despite all their failures, these people did love Jesus. It was that love that kept their relationship with him intact, even when they abandoned him to die.
Jesus appears first to the women. The women did not abandon Jesus at his death. The women were the first to appear at the tomb. Hence they were first to see evidence of the risen Christ. In all four of the Gospels, Mary Magdalene alone is present both at the cross and at the tomb. No wonder she was the first to see the resurrected Christ.
What does God mean to tell us by revealing the risen Lord only to those who loved him? I believe that the message is simple.
You cannot taste eternal life if you do not love God.
It is love, not intelligence, not good behavior, not even the highest kinds of morality that draws the soul to God. All good behavior is a fruit of the love that must exist between the believer and God.
Jesus’ great commandment is true. If we want to live beyond this life, then our way forward is clear. Jesus spelled it out for us when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . . And love your neighbor as yourself: (Matthew 22:37-39).
It makes me wonder what would have happened if no one had loved Jesus. We would have missed out on the resurrection.
God did not reveal the risen one to those who did things perfectly, to those who said the right things or never made a mistake. God revealed the risen one to those who loved him, who longed for him.
Tags: Easter / Love