Interesting Bible People :Mary Magdalene
Stories of the Christian Faith told by Mary Magdalene
In training to become a Methodist local preacher we learnt to write personalized narrative sermons. This means you take a character from a Bible story and use them to speak the story. In this lens I have included three such sermons using Mary Magdalene as the narrator. I include her part in the Easter story.
Palm Sunday and beyond
From Mary Magdalene's viewpoint
Hello I'm Mary I come from Magdala in Galilee. I was there that last week in Jerusalem. It was so wonderful to see Jesus riding that donkey , that unbroken colt, quiet as anything, riding through the streets of Jerusalem with the children and the people shouting out how much they wanted him to rescue them, of course they were thinking about the Romans and getting rid of them.
Jesus sat quietly on that colt and accepted their praise but not with any enthusiasm. He had always known this was not the way forward since his temptation, but there was something in my heart that wished it was the way forward. Well wouldn't you have liked to see our dear Lord crowned and reigning. Isn't that what you are looking forward to today in your time. Jesus crowned king and you as his courtiers. Well we all know it will happen one day but for now the way is different. It is still the way of the cross,the way of sacrifice.
The Flowers of the Field
What Would He Do Next?
Anxious days for Mary Magdalene
After the triumphal ride things were very busy for Jesus. He was teaching in the temple courts. My heart was in my mouth when he cleared all the money changers and people providing sacrifices out of the temple. There was money clattering on the floor and animals running everywhere. Jesus was full of a terrible righteous indignation, full of zeal for the Lord. Each thing he did seemed calculated to anger the authorities more. Then he went out and cursed a fig tree because it had no fruit on it, and next day it was all withered and dry. What a strange thing from the man who was love itself, to do. Was this the same Jesus who had healed me? cast out seven demons from me?. What a difference that had made in my life, from then on I wanted to follow him everywhere so I joined the other women who looked after the food preparation and chipped in with money to help as I was fortunate enough to have some. You have to realise there were lots of us women following as well as the men. We wanted to play a part in helping Jesus in his kingdom.
A long road to travel
What My Old Dad Told Me
Mary Magdalene tells us more
So there Jesus was in the temple teaching and the elders came and asked by what authority he was teaching. I drew in my breath and wondered what he would say and it was so clever. He said,"Did John the Baptist get his authority from man or from God?" they were so flustered then, so amazed, they knew they couldn't answer either way without him winning the argument.
And then it was that he started to tell one of his stories, you know those ones with special meanings. He spoke of a man who had a vineyard prepared all dug out properly with a winepress and a watch tower just as it should be and then he rented it out to some men who would pay their rent in fruit. He had to go away on a long journey but he arranged to send servants for his share of the fruit . I started to think about this and I remembered my old Dad reading the scroll of Isaiah,in the synagogue. wasn't that about a vineyard and hadn't he told me it was a picture of our people, the Jews. Is this what Jesus was saying?
I nearly lost the thread of what he was saying. But he was saying the man had sent a servant for his fruit and those wicked tenants had beaten him and sent him away, and then another servant and they killed him. Then after several more attempts the man had decided to send his son and those wicked men had killed him too. I was a bit puzzled but then I worked out that the men who were mistreated were the prophets who had tried to turn the Jews back to God, and the tenants were the rulers. I gasped as I realised Jesus was speaking against the rulers of the law and the pharisees. I couldn't understand why he would antagonize them like this. It was getting really dangerous.
None of us still quite realised what would come at the end of the week. But afterwards we could see that Jesus was the son who was killed. Then tacked on the end of this story he said, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the capstone"Well I knew that was from the Psalms, my old Dad again. Later I realised Jesus was saying the rulers had rejected him and yet he was the answer to everything..
Well you could see by the look on their faces that those rulers knew exactly that he was speaking against them but they didn't see that he was the son or know what he meant about the rejected stone. I was feeling quite sick by then I was so afraid because of what they might do to him and of course I was quite right.
The first Easter
Mary Magdalene, the first to see Jesus after the resurrection
Hello, I'm Mary; I come from Magdala in Galilee. We women had followed Jesus right to the cross.
We were so sad. Our dear Lord Jesus had died that terrible death on the cross and Joseph of Arimathea had put him in his own tomb. There was a huge stone sealing the entrance and the Romans had put their seal on it too. We women wanted to embalm the body but we didn't know how on earth we were going to move that stone. But we set out anyway.
As the tomb came in sight we were amazed to see that the big boulder was pushed to one side and the entrance was open. We broke into a run to get there and have a look. We bent down to have a look through the entrance and I held Joanna's hand. There were the cloths that should have been wound around the body but they were lying limply on the rock shelf and the cloth for the head just a few inches away. Just as if Jesus had passed through them and left them behind.
We looked at each other open mouthed and just then the other Mary and lots of the other women caught up with us. More was to come; these strange men all bright and shiny were suddenly there from nowhere. They said, "Why are you looking for the living in a grave?" It was a very frightening experience. Joanna and Mary went back with the others to tell Peter and the other disciples.
I stood in the garden crying. It was just too much to take. Then I heard a voice say" Woman why are you crying." I thought it was a strange thing for a gardener to say, I couldn't see him through my tears, but I answered him. " They've taken my Lord's body away and I don't know where they have put him. Can you tell me where he is?" then it was as if a shock wave went through me. He said my name "Mary!" and at once I knew him. It was Jesus risen from the dead. I said,"Teacher." And he told me to go and tell the disciples, so I did, but they didn't seem able to take it in at first. I think they thought I was hysterical, well I did cry a lot ,first with grief and then with joy.
Passing Through Doors
Jesus eats to show he is alive
After a while when it was already dark we heard a knock on the door. We were so relieved when it was Cleopas and his wife. "What on earth are you doing here," said Peter. They were supposed to be in Emmaus.
We could see something good had happened by the looks on their faces. They told us they had had a stranger tag along with them on the way to Emmaus. They had told him all about Jesus dying and how they had hoped he would be the one to save Israel. Then when they reached home they had asked him in for a meal. Then as he broke the bread they had seen the nail holes in his hands and they knew it was Jesus. Then he had disappeared. Then I told them my story. The others were very quiet and didn't really believe us. It was so nice for me to have someone else who had seen Jesus.
After that Jesus just somehow was there amongst us all but somehow we couldn't grasp it was really him, we just thought it was a ghost., after all the doors were all shut. How did he get in. I suppose we thought it was too good to be true. Well what would you have thought?
Jesus showed us he was flesh and bones and convinced us he was a real live person. Then he asked us for something to eat and John gave him some fish. Jesus always enjoyed a piece of fish. Well that clinched it, we were convinced it really was Jesus and he said we had to tell others because we were the witnesses of all that had happened.
The Holy Spirit comes
Mary Magdalene at Pentecost
Hello my name is Mary, I come from Magdala in Galilee.
We saw Jesus many times after he had risen and then he took us out to a hillside , told us to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to us and then he just lifted up and disappeared into the clouds. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was good that he was going back to the Father but what were we going to do without him. With mixed feelings we walked back to the house, that house where so many things had happened. Where we had had the last supper with him and where he had come to see us after he had come back to life.
While we were there Peter and the others decided on two possible men to replace Judas in the twelve. They did it by casting lots you know, like you do sometimes when somebody gets the short straw but ,of course we all prayed for God to choose for us through this method. Matthias was the chosen one. So then we settled down to wait as we had been told.
At last the day of Pentecost came. That is the Jewish feast of first fruits and that is how we saw it that day. Just another feast of first fruits. But afterwards everything was to be different. This was going to be the birthday of the church.
One moment there was quiet as we continued in silent prayer and then there was this sound of a wind, a tempest in the whole of our house and yet no evidence of movement of wind, just the sound, an amazing violent noise. This made us all look up from our prayers and then many people gasped to see hovering over us fire.And as we watched it separated out into single flames that came down and sat on everyone's head. I couldn't feel my own but I could tell it was there by the way Joanna looked at my head. But yes I soon knew it was there because just like the others I was speaking a foreign language and yet I knew what I was saying.
Then Peter was leading us out into the street. We were still all talking about Jesus and what he had done. A large crowd gathered and they were from all over the Mediterranean and of course they could pick out their own languages. They could tell we were from Galilee and couldn't understand what was going on. Then a group started to jeer that we were all drunk. Well Peter wasn't having that. He got up on a stone block and waved to everyone to get in close. Then he said that we weren't drunk it was only 9 in the morning and in any case everyone was fasting till 12 on this day of first fruits. No, he told them what was happening had been predicted by the prophet Joel. Acts 2v 17 - 21. Well up to then there had been about 120 of us followers of Jesus. After Peter's sermon 3000 or so new people joined us and all because of the power given to us by the Holy Spirit. Now it's your turn to spread the word.
Try it out loud
Try speaking these stories of Mary Magdalene, out loud. When I speak them in sermons people seem quite spellbound and attentive, but on squidoo they don't seem to have attracted much attention. There are all sorts of strange stories about Mary Magdalen but I have kept to what is said in the Bible.
Preachers , especially those in training are welcome to use this material, as with my poems.
Amazing Woman Mary Magdalene
Mary, Mary "quite contrary?"
Or were you
A thoroughly good woman?
Someone who provided
Of her own money
The day to day needs
For spreading the Kingdom of God.
Someone healed by the Saviour
Who gratefully gave
The first to see
Taking the scorn of the then
There at Pentecost
To receive the Spirit.
What did she then go on to do?
I look forward to asking her
When I get to heaven.