Mary Magdalene’s Angelic Message

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.  John 20:18

When an angel speaks to people they had better sit up and take notice.  The Greek word for angel basically means messenger, and when God’s angel speaks, that angel is giving God’s unique, direct message for that moment.  With such angelic messages God is telling the listener, This is extremely important; do not doubt it.

When the angel Gabriel spoke to Zechariah telling him of the certainty of the birth of his son John, unfortunately Zechariah did not believe this official message from God.  Because he did not believe this angelic message Zechariah was struck with muteness until John’s birth.

The Blessed Virgin, however, did not doubt Gabriel’s official message that she would miraculously conceive and bear the world’s savior, God’s Son, the long awaited Messiah.  The Holy Spirit comes through every message from God.  Luther stated that Jesus was conceived through Mary’s ears via this message spoken by Gabriel.  Indeed through this Word of God Christ was “conceived by the Holy Spirit”.

Saint John’s resurrection account presents Mary Magdalene alone at Jesus’ tomb, no longer in the assembly of the other women. The angels ask Mary Magdalene, Why are you weeping (v 13)? This divine question, repeated by the Lord Jesus, is lovingly spoken to Mary to prompt her to remember and believe that Jesus had thus predicted His resurrection; there is no reason to weep, for He is risen!

John’s account then dramatically relates how Mary became the first human to hear, see and apparently touch the risen Christ!  Jesus even calls her by name!  (John 20:15-17).  Verse 18 continues the account:  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.  The Greek word translated announced is a word used only here in the New Testament. It is a form of the verb ἀγγέλλω (“angelo”).  From this word we can literally translate that Mary “angelled” to the disciples.  Clearly the Apostle John employed this “angelic” word to draw stark attention to Mary Magdalene’s announcement to the Apostles.  John is in effect explaining that Mary Magdalene, the first eyewitness of Jesus’ resurrection, speaks an “angel message” to the Apostles, a message from God, a message to be absolutely trusted.  Mary Magdalene as a woman could not give testimony in a courtroom, additionally she was of questionable background and reputation.  Yet she must be believed, for she has in this moment become God’s official messenger, God’s angel!  She has become the first human to officially share the message, He is risen!  Sit up and take notice; believe it, for it is God’s authorized angelic message, given to be spoken by the first eyewitness, Mary Magdalene.  Isn’t it fitting that He who was born in a stable, who came into this world as a lowly man so He could save sinners should have His resurrection message first shared by this humble woman?

After Mary Magdalene “gave the angelic message” to Jesus’ disciples, sadly they did not initially believe it: Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it (Mark 16:9-11).  By the dynamic angelic message of Jesus’ resurrection may we be empowered to believe and to find eternal comfort and hope in this astounding and wondrous Word.  He is risen!