Magdala is a fishing village on the North-West of the Sea Of Galilee. I am Mary and this is my home town.
Jesus came to my town and he turned my life around. He set me free from evil, misery, crying, pain, and hopelessness. I was so grateful! I was able to work and help to support Jesus and his followers as they travelled around. He cured people of diseases and those who, like me, were troubled by evil influences. Jesus even raised Lazarus from death! That really annoyed the religious leaders, so they planned to have him killed by crucifying him. The most painful and humiliating death devised.
He had done so much for me and shown me so much love I would not, could not desert him. He who had brought healing, life, love and joy to others and had never harmed anyone was betrayed by a close friend, unjustly tried, whipped so hard he could barely walk, and killed like a criminal. Yet he didn't act like the others, spitting and swearing. He forgave them!
Even on the cross and in terrible pain he thought of others. Seeing his mother, in our group at the foot of the cross, he asked her to be a mother to John, and John to be a son to Mary and look after her.
I saw his life ebb away as he was pinned to the cross. For three hours darkness came over the land and it lived in my heart for days.
Jesus died quite quickly. They didn't need to break his legs to hasten his death, but pieced his side with a sword. This caused blood and water to come out, a sure sign Jesus was dead.
They took his limp, lifeless, bloodied body down from the cross. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both secret followers of Jesus, bravely volunteered to bury his body. Joseph took it to his own tomb, and they both wrapped his body in linen with spices to reduce the smell. Mary, James and John's mother, and I watched Joseph roll a large stone in front of the entrance to the tomb. We would return to finish the anointing, but could do nothing the next day, which was the Sabbath. Later, the religious leaders posted guards by the tomb to prevent the body being stolen, not that anyone dared think about this after what they did to our leader!
I didn't sleep. Thoughts, images, and sounds rushed round my head like a yapping dog. The Sabbath was difficult. It was set apart for us to worship but all we could do was to cry out to God in our grief, wondering why he had let this happen, and how he could let evil take the life of this man who could only do good.
After a better night, Mary and I got up early and went to the tomb when it was still dark. We brought spices and perfumes and hoped that someone would roll the stone away for us.
We didn't need to ask the soldiers. There was an earthquake. It was terrifying! I have never experienced anything like it! My legs were shaking and I nearly fell over. We had barely recovered from this and an angel from God appeared from the sky. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. He was bright, like lightning, with white clothes like pure snow, vibrant in the early morning gloom. The guards were so terror stricken, they shook, fainted, then ran away.
We weren't so weak, though the angel had to tell us not to be afraid. He went on “for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’”
We rushed and told the disciples. I am not sure if they really believed us, but Peter and John ran to the empty tomb and saw the cloths that had been wrapped around Jesus, lying there.
Peter and John hurried back to the other disciples, but I stayed behind. I wept, and wept, and wept. Then, through my tears, I saw two angels. One asked me why I was crying. I told them that they had taken my Lord away and I didn't know where he was. I heard a sound behind me, and there was a man standing near the entrance to the tomb. He, too, asked me why I was crying and who I was looking for. He looked like the gardener to me and I said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’
He said to me ‘Mary.’ For the second time, Jesus transformed my life. Only he said my name with that tone of love and acceptance. I cried out with heartfelt joy, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’ in Aramaic). I clung on to him so tight that my knuckles must have been white. Jesus winced, smiled, and said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’
I went to the disciples and told them what had happened. I don't think they truly believed me, but that evening Jesus appeared to them. Over the next six weeks he was seen by over five hundred people. What brilliant news! Death has been defeated! Love has conquered evil and hatred! The way to God is now open!