Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896. P. Oxyrhynchus L 3525, Papyrology Room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Mary Magdalene appears to the immediate left in De Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ …an artist’s conception or divine inspiration?
Mary Magdalene, companion & disciple of Jesus, was trusted and greatly loved by the Lord. At the tomb her sorrow and desire to know where they had taken her Lord turned to joy on hearing one word ‘Mary’. It was enough for she knew the Master’s voice, and immediately responded ‘Rabboni’ (Master) 1.
The parting of the sea in the movie The Ten Commandments reminds us of heaven’s great power. Mary’s humble request to know where they have taken her Lord melts the heart with her love and devotion.
So why has Mary Magdalene captured the interest & attention of so many …beyond that of the popular novel and movies? Her addition to the last supper (perhaps speculation) occurred well before the birth of any 20th century author. Although the codex Gospel of Mary was discovered circa 1896 2, translations weren’t widely available until more recently (read that internet). And yet, we wonder about her role.
The answer may be more simple than we realize — she is a profound example of Heavenly Father’s plan and truth restored. In great contrast, the adversary would cloud, degrade, and deny the role & divine nature of women — as companion, mothers, and disciples. Mary’s story reveals a quiet strength and life filled with love and virtue that honors all women.
During that era, an evolution in the Judeo/Christian view of women is evident — from Pre-Christ roles (chattel/property), to more prominent roles found in the New Testament, & then the gradual diminishing role/discipleship with the rise of a male priesthood in the early church (especially post 300 AD) — male egos at work? Maybe…
Whatever the case, each sees with eyes quite different than their neighbor’s. For example, one may see an architectural perfect 1963ish Vet, another will pop the hood to see that engine, or perhaps in the case of a few of female friends — just a bunch of old, pudgy guys with thinning hair trying to drive around looking cool.
In Mary’s case, what I see:
- devoted disciple,
- a wonderful friend/companion to the Lord,
- a person whose personality shines through… even though very little is written directly in the scripture,
- fearless at times & unashamed at the events of the crucifixion and burial,
- faithful in continuing her discipleship after the acension,
- and humble, very humble and sincere in her attitudes and reverence for God, the Father, and all that he created.
- What could I learn from Mary’s devotion that would help me in my progression as a Christian?
- What else do you see in the life of Mary that really stands out… as disciple, woman, or as an example?
[1} See John 20: 11-18. Mary’s response to refer to the Savior as Rabboni represents her reverence and silent love for the Master..
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