Catholic fine art

Mary - Rabonni

After the resurrection[edit]

Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:9, Luke 24, John 20:1

Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection from the dead, depicted by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov

In Mark, Matthew, and John, Mary Magdalene is first witness to the resurrection. John 20:1 names Mary Magdalene in describing who discovered the tomb was empty. Mark 16:9 says she was accompanied by Salome and Mary the mother of James, while Matthew 28:1 omits Salome. Luke 24:10 says the group who reported to the disciples the finding of the empty tomb consisted of "Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them". In Luke 24 the resurrection is announced to the women at the tomb by "two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning" who suddenly appeared next to them.

The final chapter of Mark's Gospel contains two narratives relating to Mary Magdalene: firstly[19] that along with Mary the mother of James and Salome, she was advised by "a young man dressed in a white robe" that Jesus had risen, and given instructions to tell Jesus' disciples — and Peter — that he was going before them into Galilee, but through fear they told no one; and secondly, in the longer ending, that Jesus appeared "first" to Mary Magdalene (alone), who then related his appearance to "those who had been with him", but they did not believe her.[20] The occurrence of these two different accounts is one of the factors contributing to the theory that Mark 16:9–20 is a later addition to the Gospel.

John 20:16 and Mark 16:9 both say that Jesus' first post-resurrection appearance was to Mary Magdalene, with no mention of others. In Matthew 28:9, Mary Magdalene is with the other women returning from the empty tomb when they all see the first appearance of Jesus.

The first actual appearance by Jesus that Luke mentions is later that day, when Cleopas and an unnamed disciple walked with a fellow traveler who they later realized was Jesus. The longer ending of Mark describes the same appearance as happening after the private appearance to Mary Magdalene. According to Luke "the apostles", and according to the longer ending of Mark "those who had been with him", did not believe Mary's report of what she saw. Neither Mary Magdalene nor any of the other women are mentioned by name in Paul's catalog of appearances at 1 Cor 15:5–8, which he begins with "he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve".

The Gospel of John[11:1–45] [12:1–8] and the Gospel of Luke[10:38–42] also mention "Mary of Bethany", the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Mary and Martha are among the most familiar sets of sisters in the Bible. Both Luke and John describe them as friends of Jesus. Luke's story, though only four verses long, has been a complex source of inspiration, interpretation, and debate for centuries. John's account, which says the sisters had a brother named Lazarus, spans seventy verses.[21]

Among the women who are specifically named in the canonical gospels, Mary Magdalene's name is one of the most frequently found, appearing 12 times, always, except for Luke 8:2, in connection with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Matthew 27:56, the author names three women in sequence: "Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's children". In the Gospel of Mark, the author lists a group of women three times, and each time Mary Magdalene’s name appears first. In the Gospel of Luke, the author enumerates the women who reported the tomb visit: "It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them." In the Gospel of John, on the other hand, Mary Magdalene is placed after Mary of Clopas.[22]

According to Carla Ricci,[23] "The place she [Mary Magdalene] occupied in the list cannot be considered fortuitous", because over and over Mary Magdalene's name is placed at the head of specifically named women, indicating her importance among the followers of Jesus. Ricci sees the significance of this as strengthened by a comparison with the lists of the twelve apostles, in which Peter occupies the first position, an indication of his importance.[23]