We often forget the gravity and importance of Mary Magdalene being the first person to witness the Resurrection. In 1st century society women were considered dumb and gossipy meaning that the general feel from the people is that women could not be trusted as witnesses. Yet, Jesus appeared first to a woman. This seems like an odd choice knowing the historical context but nothing is odd for God. God constantly chose the little guy or the one no one would believe or trust to be his mouth-piece, king, or witness. The choice of Mary Magdalene should not surprise us. Neither should the response by the disciples. After she returned to them with the news, just as Jesus told her to, they disbelieved her. Let’s give them a little credit. I don’t care how reliable the source is if someone told me that a person was raised from the dead, I would be skeptical.
Although Mark’s account of the Resurrection is the shortest of the four Gospels, he sufficiently summarizes the entire Resurrection event: first Jesus appeared to Mary, then the disciples along the way, then the 11. Boom! In three sentences he summarizes Jesus’ appearance. Unlike the other three Gospels, Jesus is far more harsh in this Gospel. While appearing to the 11, he rebukes them for their unbelief. Should we expect them to believe? Jesus does. How about us? Do we believe in Jesus’ Resurrection? Think about this question for a moment. We have been journeying through the Resurrection accounts all week long with their nuances and central proclamation that Jesus is alive. We read the reactions of the disciples and the two women. We know that Jesus rose from the dead, but do we believe. Do we take this as an article of our faith, a truism, a teaching, and intellectual idea? Or, do we really know in our hearts and souls that Jesus rose from the dead? The difference between an article of faith and part of our faith is simple. Does it affect what I believe or does it affect who I am? Once Jesus returned to his disciples, he commissioned them. They couldn’t simply believe and understand that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus commissioned them to spread the message that he rose from the dead. The Resurrection became part of who they are. The Resurrection also needs to become part of who we are.