MARY MAGDALENE, THE 13TH DISCIPLE | Daily News

MARY MAGDALENE, THE 13TH DISCIPLE

It is widely accepted among secular historians that like Jesus, Mary Magdalene was a real historical figure. Nonetheless, very little is known about her life – unlike Paul the Apostle, Mary Magdalene has left behind no writings of her own nor were any works later forged under her name as was common for the other disciples. She is never mentioned in any of the Pauline Epistles or in any of the general Epistles. The earliest and most reliable sources about her life are the three Synoptic Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, which were all written during the first century AD.

All four Canonical Gospels, as well as the Apocryphal Gospel of Peter, agree that Jesus’s body was taken down from the cross and buried by a man named Joseph of Arimathea. Mark 15:47 lists Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus as witnesses to the burial of Jesus.

A Jewish woman who, according to the four Canonical Gospels, travelled with Jesus as one of his followers was a witness to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. She is mentioned by name 12 times in the Canonical Gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other non-family woman in the Gospels. According to many mainstream scholars, Mary’s epithet - Magdalene - may mean that she came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Anglican and Lutheran churches with a feast day of July 22. Other Protestant churches honour her as a heroine of the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of Myrrh-bearers, the Orthodox equivalent of one of the Western Three Marys traditions.

13TH DISCIPLE

Mary was the most important of them all and can be listed as the 13th disciple because she never left his side the moment she met Jesus who cleansed her from evil spirit in her body; she dedicated her life with every fibre in her body to Jesus and the remaining years of her life even after his death and rise to heaven. In her lifetime, she travelled with Jesus over gales, mountains, valleys, rivers and forests in Galilee and other places where Jesus travelled day and night held no difference to her as the glow of her Master fell on her.

Mary is a central figure in later apocryphal Gnostic Christian writing. Mary Magdalene’s closeness to Jesus resulted in tension with other disciples, especially Simon Peter. During the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church used Mary as a symbol of penance. John: 19-39 does not mention any woman present during Joseph’s burial of Jesus but mention the presence of Nicodemus, a Pharisee with whom Jesus had a conversation near the beginning of the Gospel.

The Anglican Church is built on a solid rock by 700.3 million believing Anglicans. Once an Anglican always an Anglican and each and all accept Mary as the most favoured disciple of Jesus who never abandoned her throughout his life’s mission.

In the New Testament, I have found several biblical women characters named Mary but there are more but not less; and they are:

Mother of Jesus

Martha and Mary

Mother of John Mark

Mother of James and Joseph

Mary Magdalene – Jesus appeared to her first.

They all watched the crucifixion of Jesus along with other women from a distance. All these women were vital to his Ministry.

Mary Magdalene, according to Synoptic Gospels, is seen as the most important out of all and occupies a similar position as the female follower as Simon Peter does among the male apostles.

Witness to Jesus’s crucifixion and burial

Virtually all reputable historians agree that Jesus was crucified by the Romans under the orders of Pontius Pilate. Nonetheless, the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion differ considerably and most secular historians agree that some of the details in the accounts have been altered to fit their authors’ theological agendas. Ehrman states that the presence of Mary Magdalene and the other women at the cross is probably historical because Christians would have been unlikely to make up that the main witnesses to the crucifixion were women and also because their presence is independently attested in both the Synoptic Gospels and in the Gospel of John. Maurice Casey concurs that the presence of Mary Magdalene and the other women at the crucifixion of Jesus may be recorded as a historical fact. According to E.P. Sanders, the reason why the women watched the crucifixion even after the male disciples had fled may have been because they were less likely to be arrested, and they were afraid of being persecuted by the Roman soldiers who were blood-thirsty.

Supporting His Ministry

John at the seven churches in the Province of Asia said, “I am John, your brother and as a follower of Jesus, I am your partner in patiently enduring the suffering that comes to those who belong to his Kingdom. I was put on the island of Patmos because I had the truth that Jesus revealed. On the Lord’s day, the spirit took control of me and I heard a loud voice like a trumpet speaking behind me. It said ‘Write down what you see and send the book to the churches in these seven cities - Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea”.’

These words too inspired Mary. Sometimes, the philosophy of his words may have rattled Mary but she held on to Jesus in her heart and never let him go.

The declaration that Mary had been possessed by seven demons is repeated in Mark 16.9 but this is not found in the earliest manuscripts and is a second-century addition to the original text possibly based on the Gospel of Luke in the first century where demons were widely believed to be the cause of physical and psychological illness.

One woman who followed to Jesus’s end was Mary and witnessed his burial when a rich man named Joseph from Arimathea who secured the body of Jesus from Pilate, wrapped in clean linen sheet and placed it is his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. He rolled a large stone across the entrance and went away while Mary’s heart shattered and broke into splinters. After the Sabbath as Sunday morning was dawning, Mary sat crying for her Master.

RESURRECTION

After the Sabbath as Sunday morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene went to look at the tomb. Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying she bent down and looked into the tomb and saw two angels there dressed in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ they asked her and Mary answered ‘They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have put him’ then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there but she did not know that it was Jesus. ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ Jesus asked her. ‘Who is it that you are looking for?’

Mary thought he was the gardener and she told him, ‘If you took him away tell me where you have put him I will go and get him’

Jesus called her “Mary”

She turned towards him and said “Rabbont” (in Hebrew it means ‘teacher’).

“Do not hold on to me” Jesus told her “because I have not yet gone back to my Father but go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to them who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God”

Mary went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.

Jesus appeared to them late that Sunday evening as the disciples had gathered behind locked doors for they aware afraid of the authorities. Jesus said ‘Peace be with you’.

The shadows of two million years have settled upon us and we still disobey the Word of God. Give unto us the peace of Lord Jesus and bring all closer to him like the world in which Mary Magdalene lived.

JESUS CHRIST

Contemporary theologians in both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism now agree that ultimately there is only one Sacrament, the Lord Jesus Christ, and all other Sacraments are derivative from this Foundation (1 Cor.3:11, Ehp. 2:20) which comes to touch those aspects of life as "God is with us" (Matt : 1:23). Thus Phillip Seddon in ‘Celebrating the Anglican Way" (Ed. Ian Bunting, 1996) speaks of a modern theology of Sacraments where Christ is at the centre with a series of concentric circle that are touched by Christ as Sacraments. Jesus Christ is the primordial Sacrament i.e. Christ is at the root of God’s work by which salvation is offered or received. The Holy Bible, the life giving Word, is at one moment of "God-with-us’, and thus the first Sacrament. The Church being in intimate union with God the Holy Trinity is a kind of Sacrament. Its Service of Baptism, the Eucharist and those commonly called sacraments or even sacramentals, shape our lives. They give grace of Christ. Jesus came into the world and sacrificed self, for humanity to have salvation and abundant and eternal life, making a Sacrament of humanity with whom Christians share Christ in unselfish caring and proclaiming. Christ came into poverty and identified with the Poor making it a Sacrament for Christians to care and shape justice in society."


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