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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible


Mary Magdalene

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Lesson 4: Mary Magdalene – Was The First Person To See Jesus Alive After He Rose From The Dead


John 20:1-18.

Was The First Person To See Jesus Alive After He Rose From The Dead

Two women to move a 2-ton rock? I don’t think so! They didn’t either, but that wasn’t the purpose of the visit to the tomb. They wanted to go and give Jesus’ body what they thought was a ‘proper’ burial. The logistics would work out for themselves – or would they?

Oh no – this crime is even greater than all the rest – how could anyone stoop so low as to raid Jesus’ tomb? Couldn’t He lie in peace, even in death? What kind of thug or perverse person would go so far as to steal the body of Jesus? It wasn’t as though He had anything worth stealing in the tomb. No gold, silver or precious rings on His fingers. His body was only wrapped in strips of linen – there was no value in them.

Dismayed she ran back to Peter and John and told them of her desecrated find. They also went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. But they also found the tomb wasn’t empty. The linen strips were still lying there just as if they were wrapped around the body but the body had gone. Like a lifeless deflated linen cocoon. Peter and John left perplexed.

At that point, all alone and desperate, Mary allowed her full emotions to be released. She sobbed uncontrollably. Then she saw the light coming from the tomb and looked in. There were two angels inside either end of where Jesus’ body had been. They asked her why she was crying. She replied that someone had raided the tomb and taken Jesus away.

It was then she turned and saw the Gardener! Of course, it was Jesus but how could she have seen Jesus? She was in horror-struck grief. No, she saw a gardener who also asked her why she was crying. Wasn’t it obvious? It was to her – someone had been and stolen her Master away. “If you know where they put Him, please don’t hold out on me.”

How did Jesus respond? With a theological diatribe? With a sharp word of rebuke for her lack of faith? With a reprimand for not recognising Him? No, none of those.

He used only one word – He just spoke her name – Mary!

And what a word! That all embracing, doom dispelling, fear shattering, hope inducing word – Mary!

Have you noticed that as soon as anyone speaks your name – you know they are alive?

Yes, Jesus was alive and He spoke her name. Her fears were gone and life would start again, but in a whole new dimension. Every breath would have a new purpose and a sense of victory and destiny. Death and evil had been beaten and Jesus proven triumphant.

Mary Magdalene would say to us today...

I can tell you categorically that I saw Jesus right in front of me and heard Him speak to me – He called me by my name – after He had risen from the dead. It was no apparition, no ghost or spirit – it was the real Jesus. He is alive. He is God just as He claimed to be. You can trust Him, just as I do.


Father, I want to thank You that the Bible is true. We can rely on it as it was written by eye-witnesses – or on the evidence of eye-witnesses – not necessarily clever people but real people with real eyes. I am so relieved that Jesus is who He claimed to be – God. I can relax because I can trust in objective evidence - the evidence of the empty cross, the empty tomb and the risen Saviour. Thank You. Amen.

Additional readings

Mark 16:9-20; 1 Corinthians 15:1-22; Revelation 1:12-18.


Why is it important that Jesus rose bodily from the dead?

Why was Mary the first to see Jesus?

Do you believe what Mary said?

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