Can you imagine someone joining your church staff tomorrow who was just released from prison today? I can’t, but I should be able to! Why? Because when Jesus healed Mary Magdalene from being imprisoned by seven demons–which could imply she suffered from the worst possible corruption–she became one of a group of wealthy women who traveled with Jesus and the disciples and supported them financially. Later, when Jesus rose from the dead, the first person to whom he chose to appear was Mary Magdalene–and then he commissioned her to be the first person to deliver the most important news in all of history: Jesus is Risen! (The painting below is Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection by Alexander Ivanov [1834; Public Domain; Source: Commons.Wikimedia.org]) Mary Magdalene went from worst to first! This is why her name is on my list of women in my leadership toolbox whom Jesus chose to change the world!
Decades after the resurrection, the Apostle Paul would remind his readers that if the resurrection of Christ is not true, then our faith is futile (See 1 Cor. 15:12-20). Without Christ’s resurrection, there is no Christianity. Without the Easter story, there is no need for Christmas! Without the resurrection, there is no hope for any of us! The resurrection changed everything–for eternity, for everyone! And it was a woman’s voice that first spoke that truth!
Surely Jesus, a respected rabbi of his era, was well aware that a woman’s testimony was not acceptable in court without male corroboration. And yet, he commissioned Mary Magdalene to be the original herald of the world’s best news! Why would he do that? What implications should that act on Jesus’ part have on our view of women’s abilities in the church today? This story should give women so much confidence!
Here are the life-shaping truths this story has taught me:
- Jesus can transform anyone into a vessel to preach the gospel, regardless of gender or personal background.
- Jesus chose a woman’s voice to be the first to announce the most important news in history.
- Jesus believed a woman had the ability to communicate truth–even to men–in spite of others’ opposition or disbelief and commissioned her to do just that.
- Jesus’ relationship with Mary Magdalene was so special that he chose to appear to her even before his mother or to his best friend John or to Peter!
And when you read the rest of the New Testament, you see how the power of the risen Christ continued to transform people from worst to first. And he still does it today!
May you know the power of the resurrection and the blessing of being called by Christ to fulfill your unique purpose! Lead with the confidence that Christ’s power lives within you!
On my Resources page, find a FREE, reproducible Bible study about Mary Magdalene and Martha and the powerful proclamations Jesus chose them to be the first to deliver.