Yesterday, talking with my wife, I made the mistake of stating my opinion on something I had no clue about. She, on the other hand, had studied the issue and could cite chapter and verse. She called me on it.
I thought of that as I prepared for this week’s sermon. I hear very vocal opinions on what the Bible says about women today. Not much of it is positive. But what does Jesus say?
When he walked the earth, he loved to give his disciples nicknames. He called Simon petros (Peter) which means the rock. It was a prophecy of what Peter could become. He called James and John boanerges (sons of thunder). It was a warning about their short tempers. The other Simon was “the zealot” describing his political affiliation. Thomas was “the twin.” And one of his disciples he called Magdala.
That was the name of the town she was from (Migdol), but it was also Jesus’ nickname for her. It is the Aramaic word for “tower.” Mary Madgadale was “Mary the Tower.”
Mary was one of the very few who, at her own peril, stayed to witness the crucifixion. She was among the very few there for Jesus’ burial. And when she went on Sunday to show Jesus’ dead body honor (with a few other women), the resurrected Jesus appeared to her. He commissioned her to go tell the other disciples (who were in hiding) that Jesus was alive.
In that day, women were considered unreliable witnesses – they could not give testimony in court. Jesus changed that with one word: “Go.” Peter and John jumped at her testimony and ran to the tomb. They believed her.
In a sense, she was the first apostle – one sent to share the good news. What an amazing disciple Mary was. Among them all, she was a tower! Join us Sunday to learn more about her.