“But which one? Mary, his mother, Mary, Martha’s sister? You’ve got to give me more to go on.”
“Mary, the one from Magdala who had seven demons cast out.”
The disciples may have needed a tagline to identify her, and the church fathers may have confused her with the others, but Jesus knew her. And when he called her “Mary,” she recognized his voice.
Mary returned to Jesus’s burial site in John 20 only to find that his body was not there. She went to the disciples to tell them and they ran to the tomb to see for themselves. They left, but Mary remained. She was grieving Jesus, weeping at his empty tomb, wondering where his body has gone. It was then that Jesus came to her and called her by name.
Jesus once told a parable of a good shepherd (John 10:1–21). He said that “the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name . . . a stranger they will not follow” (vv. 3, 5).
Jesus called Mary by name and she knew his voice and obeyed. This was her friend and rabbi, risen from death. He had done the impossible and she had been chosen, called by name, to tell the others.
Magdalene is described as an apostle to the apostles. She is mentioned fourteen times in the Gospels, more than most of the male apostles. Her story was well known, and as an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ, she was the first to tell the apostles. She delivered the message that they would then take to the world.
Mary Magdalene’s past didn’t define her. Being a follower of Jesus did. He rescued her and if we ever think we’re beyond help, what Mary Magdalene saw in Jesus is a reminder that he is our hope and savior.