There is no sure answer to the question why Jesus Christ (Yeshua from the Aramaic language, Christos from the Greek language) after he was resurrected, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene…or more precisely, Mary of Magdala.
The Bible does not explain the reason for this choice.
However, theologians and historians have made several assumptions regarding Mary Magdalene and her relationship with Jesus.
Mary Magdalene was one of the most devoted and faithful followers of Jesus. It was assumed that she was the adulterous woman whom Jesus saved from death, when a group of pious men wanted to stone her to death, but at the same time, the woman who washed and anointed his feet, wiping them with her hair.
Jesus forgave her sins and freed her from seven demons (Gospel according to Luke 8:2) and she remained with him until the end of her earthly life.
It is possible that she was the sister of Martha, the two sisters of Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus brought back to life three days after he died.
Mary Magdalene was present at the crucifixion of Jesus (Gospel according to Matthew 27:56) and at his burial (Gospel according to Mark 15:47).
She was also the first person to go to the tomb of Jesus on the morning of the resurrection (Gospel according to John 20:1).
In John 20:17, Jesus says to Mary Magdalene: “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them: “I ascend to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”
There are several possible interpretations for these words of Jesus.
One of them is that Jesus wanted to show Mary Magdalene that he is not a simple man returned to life, but is the Son of God resurrected in a glorified body. He did not need Mary’s physical contact to confirm her identity or presence. He needed her to believe in him with the eyes of faith and to go and announce the miracle of the resurrection to the other disciples.
Another interpretation is that Jesus wanted to show Mary Magdalene that her relationship with him will change after he ascends to the Father. He will no longer be with her in a visible and tangible way, but in a spiritual and sacramental way. He will no longer be just Rabbouni (teacher), but her Lord and God. He will no longer be hers alone, but all who believe in him. He will no longer be only on earth, but in heaven.
Another interpretation is that Jesus wanted to show Mary Magdalene that he is not yet ready to return to the Father. He still had a mission to fulfill on earth: to show himself to the other witnesses of the resurrection, to give them the power of the Holy Spirit and to give them the command to go and make disciples of all nations. He needed Mary to let him continue his work and not hold him back with her emotional attachment.
Finally, another interpretation would be that humans cannot touch divinity, as it is written in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament, when Moses avoids seeing God for fear of being killed. .
In Exodus 33:20, God says to Moses: “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”
But this idea refers to God in his absolute glory and holiness, which exceeds man’s ability to perceive or withstand.
In the New Testament, however, God revealed himself in a new and surprising way through his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is God incarnate, meaning God who took human nature and lived among people. He is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He is the one who makes us know the Father (John 14:9). He is the one who brings us close to God through his death and resurrection (Ephesians 2:13).
Therefore, it is not correct to say that man cannot attain divinity without dying.
On the contrary, man is called to reach divinity through faith and love for Jesus Christ. Jesus himself invited people to touch him and recognize him as Lord and God.
For example, in John 20:27, he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; reach out your hand and place it in My side; and be not faithless, but faithful.”
Therefore, it can be said that Mary Magdalene was an eyewitness of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
She was a person who loved Jesus with all her heart and who had great gratitude for her deliverance from suffering.
Perhaps Jesus wanted to offer Mary Magdalene a special joy and consolation after the pain she experienced seeing him crucified.
Or he probably wanted to show the importance of women in the world, she being the descendant of Eve, the woman created from Adam’s rib to keep him company. Woman has become, throughout history, the inferior sex, and Jesus wanted to show that women are equal the man.
It can also be said that Mary Magdalene was an example for all those who believe in Jesus.
She did not doubt the resurrection of Jesus, but believed and announced it to the other disciples (Gospel according to Mark 16:9-10).
She was not afraid of the persecution of the Jewish Jews or the Romans, but she testified with courage about the resurrected Christ. Perhaps Jesus wanted to show Mary Magdalene that she was an important part of his plan of salvation for the world.
These are just a few possible reasons why Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, first appeared to Mary Magdalene.
We cannot know for sure the thoughts and intentions of Jesus, but we can admire and respect the role that Mary Magdalene had in the history of salvation.
She is a model of faith, love and service for all those who follow Jesus.
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