As we read about yesterday, Mary Magdalene was present during Jesus’s ministry, at the foot of the cross, at his burial, and at his resurrection. She was the friend that remained, the one that refused to look away. She is mentioned a total of fourteen times in the New Testament, more than most of the apostles. She is almost always mentioned first, identifying her as an important person and leader in the community. The only list where her name is not first is when she is standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus’s mother.
How to be a Loyal Friend
But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
show up when everyone else runs away
Suffering is hard to bear witness to. No matter how good of a friend you are or think someone else is, when tragedy happens, people run. Think through your own life. In the hardest moments, were you surprised by who was and wasn’t by your side?
In the Gospels, we are told that Jesus was abandoned by the disciples. One betrayed him with a kiss, while the others ran. Peter, the very disciple Jesus would later command to build his church, denied even knowing him (Matthew 26:69–75). Only “the disciple whom he loved” is mentioned as being present at Jesus’s death (John 19:25–27), surrounded by the women who never left. But Magdalene was always nearby, likely with the women who followed behind weeping as Jesus carried the cross to Golgotha, and most definitely standing beside his mother, identifying as one of those closest to him in life (Luke 23:27). She showed up.
From the very first time she is introduced, Magdalene shows up and takes part in Jesus’s ministry. Grateful for her healing, she is transformed in both body and soul. Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan, an associate professor at Saint Vincent College, describes Magdalene as “one of Jesus’s success stories.” Her healing resulted in “faithful ministry as well as social reintegration, leadership, and recognition.”
Magdalene’s presence and the presence of those with her are the reason the Gospel writers had the eyewitness testimony they needed to write the details of what happened that day at the crucifixion. Jesus’s death and resurrection that followed would become our second chance, and Magdalene was there to bear witness to it all.
Watch Session Five
Jesus Gives Hope
When has someone shown up for you during tragedy? What are some ways you could be more proactive about simply being present for those you love when they are going through hard times?
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