For most of her days and nights, Mary Magdalene’s life had been a mess!

Many today believe she was a prostitute, but we don’t know that for sure. However, if she was alive today, she might be a resident of a mental institution. The reason I think that is because the Gospels record she was inhabited by seven demons.

Mary Magdalene could also have been deeply depressed. And people in her condition today would probably be alcoholics or addicted to drugs. She may have been suicidal as well. Mary had no hope for a bright future and was probably deeply ashamed of the way she was living. Trapped in a sinister lifestyle, she couldn’t rise above what she had become — a deeply troubled woman rejected by most people.

But then everything changed instantly! She met Jesus one day and He did not reject her like almost everyone else did! In fact, He welcomed her and gave her the best gift of all — the gift of a brand-new life. She found — to her great joy — that she had peace of mind instead of tormenting thoughts! The degrading passions that drove her unmercifully were replaced by a deep self-sacrificing love for other people and especially for Jesus! What a transformation!

When Jesus gave her a brand-new life, He probably gave her a number of true friends as well — including some other loving women. They along with Mary Magdalene ministered to Jesus and His friends out of their own funds.

Soon personal tragedy overwhelmed her! Jesus — her Savior and Leader — was arrested, convicted and nailed to a Roman cross beside two criminals.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two wealthy and highly respected Jewish leaders, exposed themselves to public ridicule by giving Jesus an honorable burial in Joseph’s own new tomb. Crucified criminals were often thrown into a common burial pit. These two men tenderly took Jesus down from the cross and carried His body to the cave tomb. They wrapped His corpse around and around with yards of expensive linen material saturated with ointments and sweet-smelling spices. The ointment acted as a kind of glue which transformed the long cloth into a cocoon. Then they laid Him in the tomb and rolled a large stone over the entrance.

Mary Magdalene and at least one of her friends watched while Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus entombed Jesus in the cave that afternoon after His crucifixion.

Mary and her friends went home and rested when the sun went down that day in order to kept the Sabbath that began at sundown, so they didn’t have time to anoint Jesus’s body themselves.

However, early the next morning while the sun was just rising, Mary Magdalene and her friends brought sweet spices to add their spices to Jesus’s burial wrappings. While they journeyed to the cave, they questioned among themselves who would roll the stone away since it was too heavy for them.

Imagine how astonished they were when they arrived at the cave to discover the huge stone had already been moved! You see, there had been a great earthquake accompanied by the coming of an angel who rolled the stone away and then sat on it. When the guards saw this glistening being shining like lightning, they collapsed on the ground in a dead faint!

Mary did not realize that an angel had come because she didn’t see him when she arrived at the cave and only knew that the stone had been rolled away. Deeply disturbed, she discovered the body of her Lord was gone.

Mary Magdalene quickly found Simon Peter, who had betrayed the Lord, and John. She broken-heartedly announced, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher and we don’t know where they have taken Him!”

Immediately Peter and John rushed to the tomb to see what had happened while Mary followed at a distance.

Since John was younger, he outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first. John didn’t go into the tomb, but Peter did. A wondrous sight awaited their gaze! The linen wrappings wound so tightly around Jesus’s body were still on the shelf where His body had been, but the long burial cloth had collapsed without being unwound. And the napkin covering Jesus’s face was in a separate place by itself where his head had been. Most amazing of all, Jesus’s body was no longer in the mummy cocoon. No one had unwrapped the glued together layers of cloth! The resurrected body of Jesus had simply passed right on through the burial shroud!

When John observed the collapsed mummy cocoon, he believed Jesus had risen from the dead from the evidence right before his eyes!

Peter and John left the cave, but Mary Magdalene stayed behind. She was deeply grieved since she still thought Jesus’s body had been taken away.

However, her grief soon turn to ecstatic joy when not long afterwards she was visited by Jesus Himself!

This is how she met the risen Lord face to face.

First — as she turned to go home, she noticed a man standing in the garden near the empty tomb who she assumed was the gardener.

Try to put yourself in her place and imagine the glorious thrill that came to her heart when Jesus gently called her by her own name — “Mary!”

It was then that she recognized her risen Lord!

Jesus gave to Mary the awesome commission of telling His disciples this earth-shaking news — He is alive forever!

And that is how Mary Magdalene became an evangelist to the apostles.