Events in the life of Jesus Christ

Life of Jesus

Jesus' ancestors

Annunciation

Birth of Christ

Shepherds & Angels

Wise Men/Magi

Flight to Egypt

The Lost Boy

Jesus' Ministry 

Baptism

Rejection at Nazareth

Miracles

Wedding at Cana

Gerasene Demoniac

Jairus' Daughter

Loaves & fishes

Transfiguration

Parables

Ten popular parables

The Good Samaritan

The Prodigal Son

The Rich Fool

Parable of the Seeds

Trial & Death

Entry into Jerusalem

Cleansing the Temple

Betrayal by Judas

The Last Supper

The Garden of Olives

Annas and Jesus

Caiaphas: the Trial

Peter's Denial

Herod and Pontius Pilate

The Scourging of Jesus

Death Sentence

Way of the Cross

Crucifixion

Jesus on the cross

Jesus dies

Burial of Jesus

Resurrection

Resurrection

Magdalene at the Tomb

Peter and John

Doubting Thomas

Emmaus

Maps

 


 


 

 

'...Jesus seems to have had his feet nailed to the wood as an extra punishment. It made his death more brutal, but it also made it quicker, since the additional agony sent him into shock. He lost more blood, weakening him further.'

Crucifixion of Jesus

 

'In the carving (of the Resurrection, by Veit  Stoss) , Jesus seems to leap nimbly from the tomb. The alteration in his bodily state is suggested by the unopened coffin lid, through which his body has passed.'

Resurrection Paintings

 

'When Jewish people heard that someone they loved had died, they tore the front part of their inner clothing. 
The tear was several inches long,  a symbol of grief: it represented the tearing pain in their hearts.'  

Burial Customs

  

'It was the women’s task to prepare a dead body for burial. The body was washed, and hair and nails were cut. Then it was gently wiped with a mixture of spices and wrapped in linen strips of various sizes and widths. While this was happening, prayers from the Scriptures were chanted.'

Burial Customs

 

'The great Temple of Jerusalem was still being rebuilt when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, but it was completed at the time of Jesus' trial and death. Mary Magdalene would have seen a magnificent building, brand new, with its white stone shining in the sun.' 

Jerusalem in Jesus' Time

 

 

Mary in the Gospels

As Mary wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying.
Read more...

 

 

Saint or Sinner?

Mary was close to Jesus during his life, and she would be close to him when he died.  She stood near to the cross, watching every action, hearing every scream.   
Read the whole story...

 

Famous paintings of Mary Magdalene in theBible, with image of gold icon of the 'Apostle to the Apostles'

Mary Magdalene, first witness to the Resurrection

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Mary Magdalene was a female disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, and probably his financial backer. It is extremely unlikely, well-nigh impossible, that she was a reformed prostitute, but painters and medieval theologians loved to show her in this role. She was first witness to the Resurrection, and is called 'Apostle to the Apostles', since the risen Jesus told her to ‘go and tell’, apostellein in Greek. 


'Mary Magdalene Approaching the Tomb', Gian Girolamo Savoldo, 1535-40

BIBLE PAINTINGS: Gian Girolamo Savoldo,Mary Magdalene Approaching the Tomb

Mary and the other women (not shown by the painter) approach the tomb on Easter Sunday morning at dawn.  They have brought spices and perfumed ointment to anoint the body of Jesus, but it is gone. Mary's grief and confusion overcome her, and she weeps. Then she hears a sound behind her, and turns to look. What is behind her? It is very early in the morning, and at the left of the picture dawn is breaking over the horizon. But a much stronger light is coming from behind Mary's left shoulder, making her cloak shimmer Savoldo suggests the light behind her is stronger than even the light of the sun - and of course the viewer knows that this light is Jesus, resurrected.  Bible reference:  John 20:11-16

 


'The First Meeting of Christ and Mary Magdalene', Henryk Siemiradzki,1873

Paintings of Mary Magdalene, First Meeting of Christ and Mary Magdalene by Henryk Siemiradzki

Mary Magdalene's sumptuous clothing and jewellery contrast sharply with the simplicity and dignity of Jesus. His gaze is direct, while she tries to hide herself in the shade. Behind him stand his disciples, straining to see how he will react. Behind her, on the other hand, are a band of reprobates who jeer at this provincial preacher. On the left of the picture, the simple countryside; on the right, ornate Roman architecture. This is a picture of contrasts, essentially a dramatic tableau showing a pivotal moment in Mary's life. Bible reference: Luke 8:1-3


'The Repenting Magdalene', Georges de La Tour, late 1630's 

Paintings of Mary Magdalene, the Magdalene, George de la Tour

Mary surveys the mirror, symbol of her former vanity and preoccupation with worldly things. It casts a large shadow. Her beauty remains, but she has clearly become aware of the fact that there is more to life than earthly pleasure. Now, in the stillness of night, she reflects on past events, and on her own transformation through the encounter she has had with Jesus.

The skull in Mary's lap reminds here that Death is inevitable for all creatures, and will come to her as well. It suggests that she should think about the hereafter as well as the present.
George de la Tour, Mary Magdalene George de la Tour excelled in the use of light and shadow, and the meditative mood  that night brings to all creatures.

There is another version of this scene painted by George de la Tour (see thumbnail at right). In this, the sexual undertone is more explicit - Mary's legs and shoulder are bared, as if she has just finished servicing a client. But the mood of introspection and regret are the same.


'The Penitent Magdalene', Caravaggio, 1597

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: The Penitent Magdalene by Caravaggiio

Caravaggio has managed to capture the image of a woman who has come to the end of the road, too tired to look into her future. This is the moment, he suggests, when she is ready to respond to Jesus' message of redemption. Mary Magdalene is sumptuously dressed, but the discarded jewellery and her slumped figure tell the viewer that she has reached a turning point in her life. Caravaggio portrays her as a rich courtesan, not a common prostitute. In fact, the real Mary Magdalene was neither. She was not the sinner described in Luke 7:36-50, and when Luke does describe an actual prostitute in 15:30, he uses a different word, not 'sinner'.


'Mary Magdalene', detail of head only, Donatello, 1455

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE Donatello, Mary Magdalene detail

In popular legend, Mary Magdalene was portrayed as a repentant sinner who retired to a cave in the desert where she became a penitent hermit. She practised every sort of physical penance and privation, to atone for the sins she supposedly had committed before she was cured by Jesus. Donatello, Mary Magdalene sculpture, full sizeThere is no biblical evidence for this depiction of Mary Magdalene. It derives from popular legend and medieval tradition only.

Donatello's Mary has a thin, exhausted face and matted, filthy hair. Her emaciated body is clad in ragged animal skins. She is barefoot and bare armed. Her repentance is obviously sincere, but her self-abasement is not appealing. Click on the thumbnail image at right to see the full-length sculpture, currently held in the Duomo Museum, Florence. The statue had become blackened by time, but after the terrible flood in 1966 it was cleaned and restored to its present appearance.


'Mary Magdalene in the house of Simon the Pharisee',  Jean Beraud, 1891

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: Jean Beraud.Mary Magdalene in the house of Simon the Pharisee.

The story of the woman with the alabaster jar is transported into 19th century France. This interesting and technically accomplished painting pulls the event in Luke 7:36-50 into the modern world. Only the figure of Jesus is timeless. All the others, including the startled maid at far right, are in modern dress.  The painting was controversial when it first appeared, because people rightly suspected that Beraud was trying to make them uncomfortable by confronting them with their own failings, their own hypocrisy. Many of the well-heeled men in the painting would have had mistresses. Now they were confronted with reality, with raw human suffering, and they did not particularly like it.  Bible reference:  Luke 7:36-50


'The Magdalene Reading', Ambrosius Benson, 1525

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: The Magdalene Reading by Ambrosius Benson

Ambrosius Benson, Mary Magdalene, variation, 1525Mary, now repentant and reformed, sits quietly reading. Her life of sin is behind her.

Another painting with the historically inaccurate book and vase. As with many other painting of Mary Magdalene, this one contains a representation of an alabaster vase, suggesting that she is the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume made from nard. The red of her dress and her pouting lips encourage the viewer to think of her as no better than she should be.... must have been popular, because Benson painted a v


'The Repentant  Magdalene', Antonio Canova, 1809

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: Antonio Canova, The Repentant Magdalene

Mary alone in the desert, repenting her past sins.  In the legends that grew up after her death, Mary is supposed to have repented after meeting Christ; she then spent many years in the desert, where she lamented her past sins. In keeping with this tradition, Canova shows her dressed in the clothing of a hermit. The skull beside her is a reminder of death, which must come to all. The figure of Mary once held a cross, symbol of the Crucifixion.  She is clearly grief-stricken and helpless. There is no evidence for any of this in the New Testament.


'St. John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene', Filippino Lippi, circa 1500

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: Filippino Lippi,St John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene

These two saints of the medieval Church are shown as icons of mortification and penance. Mary is identified by her flowing red hair. Though there is no gospel evidence to show that Mary Magdalene was an ascetic, she is here portrayed alongside John the Baptist, who was.  It is surely one of the most depressing paintings, and would hardly recommend the ascetic way of life - with self-mortification and self-imposed privation - to the viewer.

Fra Filippo Lippi, Virgin Adoring the ChildThis painting contrasts sharply with the work produced by Fra Filippo Lippi, father of Filippino Lippo. The older man is supposed to have abducted a nun, who became the mother of Filippino - though this cannot have been a youthful passion, since Filippino was born when his father was about fifty years old. For an example of the dramatically different styles of the two men, click on the image at right. Interesting that the son's subject seems so much more angst-ridden than the father's....

 


St John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, Hans Memling

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene by Hans Memling

In contrast to the painting above it, this image has a sumptuously dressed Magdalene.


'Mary Magdalene', Rogier van der Weyden. circa 1445

Paintings of Mary Magdalene:  Rogier van der Weyden,Mary Magdalene

Mary, supposedly repenting her many sins, sits reading quietly and spending her time in reflection. Notice the small white lidded jar on the floor beside her. Throughout the centuries, Mary Magdalene was confused with the woman with the alabaster jar, described in Luke 7:36-50; the story of this other woman comes just before Mary Magdalene in the story sequence - but in fact there is no connection between the two women, other than this proximity in the gospel lay-out. Why then did the idea of Mary the sinner become so popular? One reason is that Mary Magdalene, as a fallen woman, made a dramatic contrast with Mary of Nazareth, the perfect virgin/mother.
Notice that van der Weyden has placed Mary in an idealized medieval setting. See Ancient houses for something closer to the reality.


' The Dead Christ Mourned - the Three Maries', Annibale Carracci, 1603

Paintings of Mary Magdalene:  Annibale Carracci,The Dead Christ Mourned, The Three Maries

The scene shows the Galilean women lamenting over Jesus' dead body. He lies across the knees of his mother. Mary Magdalene, identified by her luxuriant hair and red dress, raises her arms in a piteous gesture.

The moment when Jesus is taken down from the cross is not described in any of the gospels, but it is a popular subject in art - think of Michelangelo's 'Pietá', where it reached perhaps its highest point. None of the gospels have all of this group present at the crucifixion - only John's gospel, for example, has Mary the mother of Jesus present. The other gospels do not mention her at the crucifixion. For information about burial customs at the time, and how women cared for the bodies of family members who died, see Major Events in women's lives     Bible reference:  Mark 15:40, John 19:25


'At the Foot of the Cross', Macha  Chmakoff, circa 1990's

Paintings of Mary Magdalene:  Macha Chmakoff, At the Foot of the Cross

It is Good Friday, and the women stand silently at the foot of the cross. Macha Chmakoff's image of the women has a timeless dream-like quality. The figures are shadowy, wrapped in silence, yet each of them has an individual quality, as if each was a personality in her own right. They, not the cross, dominate the scene. Contrast this with the women in the painting by He Qi, further down the page. Both paintings are modern, painted at roughly the same time, yet they could not be more different. Bible reference:  John 19:25-27


Isenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grunewald, 1432

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE Matthias Grunewald,Isenheim Altarpeice

Mary Magdalene, identified by her long hair, kneels at the foot of the cross. Behind her is Mary, mother of Jesus, and John. This is an extraordinarily realistic painting of the crucifixion. The figure of Jesus dominates the painting, but the lesser figures, especially Mary's, reveal their anguish in this horrific moment.
For a detail of this painting, see the web-page on Crucifixion.        
Bible reference:  John 19:25-27

 


'The Yellow Christ', Gauguin, 1899

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE Gauguin, The Yellow Christ

The women gather at the foot of the cross. One is in blue, the traditional colour of Mary, mother of Jesus. Gauguin has given this traditional scene of the crucifixion a whole new twist. The figure of Jesus is bathed in radiant yellow gold, reminiscent of the gold of Greek and Russian icons. This gold has suffused Nature itself, all around him - even the trees are turned into vibrant orange. The three Marys, now Breton women in their traditional clothing, are quiet, almost meditative - the horror of so many traditional depictions of the crucifixion is absent from this painting.  Gauguin used Breton women again in another religious painting, The Vision after the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel) 1888. Gauguin seems to suggest that the women, on their way home from Sunday Mass, were having an inner struggle like Jacob's, where he wrestled all night with the angel of God.  Bible reference:  John 19:25-27

 


La Pietà, Santa Maria della Vita, terra cotta statues, by Niccolò dell’Arca, 1462-63

Paintings of Mary Magdalene: La Pieta, Santa Maria della Vita, terra cotta statues by Niccolo dell'Arca

La Pieta, Santa Maria della Vita Niccolo del Arca_whole_group.jpg (72045 bytes)This realistic statue by Niccolò dell’Arca captures something of Mary Magdalene's anguish and horror when she sees Jesus' dead body lying on the ground. She seems to be running headlong towards him, utterly focused on his inert body. Her expressive hands and wailing mouth cannot leave the viewer of this statue unmoved. Beside her are the people mentioned in the gospels as being present at the burial: Mary (Salome, mother of John the Evangelist), Mary (mother of Jesus), John the Apostle, and Mary (of Cleophas--Mother of James the Lesser). 


'The Dead Christ ', Andrea Mantegna, 1480-90

'The Dead Christ ', Andrea Mantegna, 1480-90

'Consider, for a minute, what must be Mangegna's most famous image, of the dead Christ viewed in steep foreshortening, foot to head, laid out on a slab of marble. Painted in muted (and much faded) colors of tempera on canvas, the picture, which hangs in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, has an almost overwhelming effect. There are the feet of Christ, with their lovingly described nail wounds, projecting beyond the marble slab into the viewer's space; the hands, also marked by the nails that pierced them on the cross, gently posed on the folds of the linen sheet that covers the lower half of the corpse; the grief-stricken face of the Virgin, who raises a cloth to wipe away the tears that course down her aged cheeks. All this cannot help but move the susceptible viewer, who finds himself at Christ's feet in the position of Mary Magdalene, who bathed those same feet with her tears. The picture is a tour de force of artistic ingenuity and accomplishment, and it is no wonder that it has had such a lasting effect on so many later artists. Emptiness and silence, broken only by the sobbing of the claustrophobically grouped mourning figures.   (Keith Christiansen, The New Republic)

 


'The Risen Christ with the Two Marys in the Garden of Joseph of Aramathea' 
William Holman Hunt
', 1897


Paintings of Mary Magdalene:  William Hobman Hunt,Christ and the Two Marys

The two Marys (but which two?) in the garden where the tomb was. Jesus has thrown off the swathe of tapes that bound him in death, and stands triumphantly tall. His resurrected body is surrounded by a halo of light, signalling that his body, though still showing wounds from the crucifixion (see his left side) is transformed into an unearthly presence.
Hunt began this painting when he was a young man, but abandoned it when he decided he was not a believer in Christ. Later in life he experienced a conversion, and developed a personal belief in Jesus. This painting comes directly out of this experience. It suggests themes of illumination and conversion, and our encounter with the divine - in this case, between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The theme of light also links it with Hunt's most famous religious painting, 'The Light of the World'. 
Bible reference:  Luke 24:1-12

 


'Women Arriving at the Tomb', He Qi, 1999

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE He Qi, Women Arriving at the Tomb

The women who were Jesus' closest friends now gather at the tomb to anoint his body with spices and carry out the rituals required for burial of the dead. But the tomb is empty. (See information on ancient burial customs at Bible Archaeology: Tombs. He Qi is able to infuse even this sombre moment with color and energy. The women's gaze focuses on the tomb, from which a white lily springs. Jesus is not there. They are perplexed - notice the different hand gestures of each one, so aptly expressing their emotions. They are modestly dressed but flamboyantly female, even in this poignant moment. Notice also the butterfly behind them - a symbol of the risen Jesus?   Bible reference:  Luke 24:1-12

 


'Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene at the Empty Tomb', artist unknown

Mary is bent, huddled, distraught at the disappearance of Jesus' body. Then she hears her name spoken, and turns, looking upward to Jesus standing behind her. This poignant image captures the moment of Mary's incomprehension, as she hears her name spoken by someone she knows is dead. After all, she has been present at the crucifixion of Jesus, seen his sagging body removed from the cross, and been the one who laid out his corpse in the tomb. But now, inexplicably, she recognizes his voice. This image is closer to pictures of Mary in modern films - see Top Ten Bible Films    Bible reference:  John 20:17

 


'Noli me tangere' (Do not touch me), Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE Duccio di Buoninsegna Noli me tangere

Mary Magdalene encounters Jesus in the garden, after the resurrection. She reaches out to touch him, but he draws back, and tells her not to hold on to him. 'Noli me tangere' -  'Don't touch me'. Or is it 'Don't hang on to me'? Which of these two translations is the better? They mean such different things. The first phrase refers to the mystery of the Resurrection. Jesus in his resurrected form is not in the same body he was before his death - it is resurrection, not resuscitation. The second phrase can mean something quite different, and is often the advice given to people suffering grief. It's as if the dead person tells the one still living not to live in the past, not to keep hanging onto the way life used to be, but to move ahead with their life, into their own future.   
Bible reference:  John 20:17


'St Catherine of Alexandria, St Peter and Mary Magdalene', Carlo Crivelli, 1475

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE, Carlo Crivelli, St Catherine of Alexandria,St Peter and Mary Magdalene, 1475

Mary is grouped with other great saints of the medieval Church. She is dressed in flamboyant red, a colour with all sort of connotations. Sexual passion and license, the allure of the sinful woman, a come-and-get-me colour. There is in fact no reason at all to think that Mary had been a prostitute. She had been cured of a severe illness, and Jesus had summoned 'seven demons' from her. But many illnesses, such as epilepsy, where supposedly caused by evil spirits or demons entering the body, and 'seven' simply denoted the severity of her illness. In fact, the nature of the illness is unspecified. Only later, when celibate male scholars wrote about the story, was Mary's illness linked to her sexuality.


'St Mary Magdalene', artist:  unknown

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE, icon

This modern-day icon is in All Saints Orthodox Church in Manhattan, Kansas. It glows with colour, with the jewel-like quality of Russian and Greek icons when they are first produced. The lines are simple, restrained, steeped in tradition.


'Mary Magdalene', artist  unknown

BIBLE PAINTINGS: MARY MAGDALENE,inlaid wood

This delicate portrait of Mary Magdalene is made entirely of inlaid wood. This remarkable art form reached its height in northern Italy in the later 15th and early 16th centuries.

 


'St Mary Magdalene', Piero di Cosimo, 1500-10

BIBLE PAINTINGS,Piero de Cosimo,St Mary Magdalene

A repentant Mary reads from a book. There is no attempt at historical or gospel accuracy. Beautiful, serene, intellectual - the Renaissance ideal of womanhood, in fact. The Mary Magdalene of the gospels is nowhere to be seen, replaced by this calm red-headed woman. 

The implication of the painting is that Mary, now filled with serene love for her Saviour, spends her waking hours in meditation. This begs the question: which Mary is this? Mary Magdalene, whom the medieval Church depicted as a repentant sinner? The woman with the alabaster jar, as in Luke 7:36-50? Or Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who loved to sit and listen to Jesus rather than help with the housework? By the 1500's, artists were representing a composite of all three women.

 

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Hidden Meanings  in paintings of Mary Magdalene
  • Mary Magdalene was always an important figure in the gospel, but she became even more so after the Counter-Reformation, when the Catholic Church encouraged devotion to the Sacraments, particularly Penance. Mary was seen as the ideal penitent because she supposedly anointed the feet of Jesus. But the woman who did this, whoever she was, was unnamed in the gospel. 

  • In fact there is no real link between the woman who anointed Jesus, and the woman called Mary Magdalene who was exorcised of seven 'demons' - in other words, she was cured of a severe illness.

  • Never mind the facts, go with the myth. Mary Magdalene is often shown with a jar of ointment. Her hair is untied, long and flowing, sometimes covering her whole body. She is portrayed in two distinct ways: before her conversion she is richly attired, jewelled and gloved, a figure of Profane Love; as a penitent, she wears a simple cloak or is often naked, covered only by her long hair (a very popular theme during the Victorian period). She usually has a crucifix and a skull, and sometimes a whip and a crown of thorns. She reads or meditates or, in Baroque paintings, raises her tear-filled eyes towards a vision of angels in heaven. 

  • She is sometimes shown at the entrance to a cave (very Freudian) from the legend that later in life she lived in a grotto at Sainte-Baume in France.

  • 'Noli me tangere' (do not touch me)  paintings show the scene after the Resurrection when Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene. When she recognised him she reached out to touch him, but he told her to let go, and instead find the disciples and tell them he was risen from the dead. Because of this mission given to her by Jesus, the Eastern churches named Mary Magdalene 'Apostle to the Apostles'. 


Mary Magdalene's story    Saint or Sinner - of both?

There is nothing romantic or even sexy about Mary’s story. Her hometown Magdala was a thriving centre of the fishing industry, producing smoked fish in large quantities. That’s how she made her money, not as a whore.

But she did have a serious illness – just what it was we do not know. People believed some illnesses like schizophrenia or epilepsy were caused by evil spirits entering the body, and she was thought to have seven of them living in her body. That meant she was very ill indeed.

But at some point in her life, Mary met an itinerant miracle worker called Jesus, and he cured her. She was bowled over by him, and became a faithful supporter. She led a group of women who travelled with Jesus, and who supported him financially. She led the women’s group, Peter led the men’s.

When things went badly wrong at Passover time in Jerusalem, she stood by Jesus. She was close to him during his life. She would be close to him when he faced death. The men disciples fled – there was every possibility they might be next. But Mary stood as near to the cross as she could, watching every dreadful action, hearing every scream. No one can imagine what it was like.

When he was finally dead, silent at last, they took him down from the cross. Then she faced the task that every Jewish woman had to do sooner or later – preparing the body of someone she loved for burial. 

It all had to be done quickly – the Sabbath was about to begin. This meant that ointments and spices could not be bought. The women would have to come back after the Sabbath and complete the task.  

At the earliest opportunity, they returned to the tomb where his body had been placed. There was no one there. The soldiers were nowhere to be seen, and the place seemed deserted. Jesus’ body was gone. Where was it? A young man at the tomb said that Jesus was gone – but gone where?

Mary collapsed on the ground. Everything was wrong. Then someone spoke to her, said her name, and she recognized the voice. It was Jesus. She was mute with shock. She made as if to grab hold of him, but he pulled back. Don’t hold on to me, he said. Just tell the others.

She ran back to the house where the men were hidden. He’s alive, she shouted. He’s alive.

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Mary in the Gospels

Matthew 27:55-56
Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Matthew 27:61
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

Matthew 28:1-10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

Luke 8:1-3
1  After this Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2  and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
3  Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Luke 23:49
But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Luke 23:55-56
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Luke 24:1-11  

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8Then they remembered his words.9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Mark 15:40-41
40  There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41  These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

Mark 16:1-11
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

(The Shorter Ending of Mark) And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterwards Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

(The Longer Ending of Mark)   Now after 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 out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

John 19:25
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.  But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

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Paintings from the New Testament - Bible Study Resource: Mary Magdalene, disciple of Jesus, first witness to the Resurrection, Apostle to the Apostles

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Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Fletcher