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Mary Magdalene – Those who are forgiven much, love much.

Mary from Magdala led a sinful life as a young woman. Jesus met her and delivered her from multiple demons, releasing her from Satan's grasp. She was forever grateful. Along with other women, Mary Magdalene became a constant follower of Jesus.

She was with Him when excited followers and visitors pressed in for mercy and healing. Then, when the leaders despised Him and rejected Him and most of His followers disappeared, Mary stayed. She was forgiven much, and she loved much.

She followed the slow procession to Golgotha as the Lord struggled with the cross. She stood with the mother of Jesus and John at the crucifixion along with a few others. She watched the burial and observed while the stone was rolled across the small entrance of the lonely, lifeless tomb.

Mary Magdalene arranged to meet the other women at the tomb early Sunday morning to anoint the body of the Lord. Each would have come from their own home and Mary may have arrived first, well before dawn. When she saw that the stone was no longer covering the entrance she ran to the disciples, fearful that the body had been stolen.

Peter and John ran back with her to the tomb and found it as she said. The grave empty. The shroud and winding clothes, the only things remaining, laying there. They left. Mary remained, standing apart, looking at the empty tomb, weeping. She loved Him so.

Eventually, she willed herself closer, she needed to see. As she looked into the shadowy hollow there were two angels sitting, one at the place where Jesus' head had been, and another where His feet had laid. She was too grieved to be amazed at the sight.

"Why are you crying?" the angels asked. Mary just wanted to be near her Lord and said, "They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."

Her heart was broken. She had stood with Jesus in life, and now, in death, she needed to be near Him, and someone had taken that away from her. Grief added to grief.

At that moment Jesus stepped up behind her and she turned and saw Him but didn't recognize Him in the morning light. "Why are you crying? Who do you seek?" Jesus said.

Mary thought him to be a gardener, one who may know what happened. "Sir, if you have taken Him, tell me where you put Him and I will take Him away," she said.

Then, suddenly she recognized His voice. The voice that expelled the demons from her life. The voice that quieted and calmed all her fears. The gentle voice of mercy that somehow carried the authority of God Himself. "Teacher!" she exclaimed. She threw herself prostrate before Him, overwhelmed, overjoyed.

The risen Lord gave His dear child Mary, the first person He revealed Himself to, a message – "go tell the brothers," He said.

The elation that she felt as she ran seemed to carry her, "I have seen the Lord!" she declared to them!

With that Mary Magdalene became the first witness of the risen Christ, and the first preacher of the greatest news the world would ever hear. Jesus has risen! He is alive!

Tradition tells us that Mary Magdalene shared this good news into her elderly years, even testifying before the emperor!

Mary Magdalene embodied the first commandment, she loved the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. Who is forgiven much, loves much.