Mary at the empty tomb and thereafter
Perhaps no other woman in history has had the impact on the world stage than has Mary “Magdalene.” Magdala was a fishing village a short distance off the north-eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. In Part I we see how Mary, in her youth and early adult years, was quite the rebellious Jewish girl of her day. She had developed serious distrust in men because of her Father—who had treated his mother as one would an animal. Mary decided to engage in a profession that ‘took advantage’ of men—that is until one, Jesus of Nazareth, crossed her path.
Part I was regarding Mary Magdalene prior to Jesus’ crucifixion.
Part II, below, are all the Urantia Book references, printed in 1955 and belonging to no organized religious group, of Mary Magdalene regarding the Resurrection, and Mary’s role in the subsequent appearances.
189.4.6 They were greatly surprised to see the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, inasmuch as they had said among themselves on the way out, “Who will help us roll away the stone?” They set down their burdens and began to look upon one another in fear and with great amazement. While they stood there, atremble with fear, Mary Magdalene ventured around the smaller stone and dared to enter the open sepulcher. This tomb of Joseph was in his garden on the hillside on the eastern side of the road, and it also faced toward the east. By this hour there was just enough of the dawn of a new day to enable Mary to look back to the place where the Master’s body had lain and to discern that it was gone. In the recess of stone where they had laid Jesus, Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body. The covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.
189.4.7 After Mary had tarried in the doorway of the tomb for a few moments (she did not see distinctly when she first entered the tomb), she saw that Jesus’ body was gone and in its place only these grave cloths, and she uttered a cry of alarm and anguish. All the women were exceedingly nervous; they had been on edge ever since meeting the panicky soldiers at the city gate, and when Mary uttered this scream of anguish, they were terror-stricken and fled in great haste. And they did not stop until they had run all the way to the Damascus gate. By this time Joanna was conscience-stricken that they had deserted Mary; she rallied her companions, and they started back for the tomb.
189.4.10 As these women sat there in the early hours of the dawn of this new day, they looked to one side and observed a silent and motionless stranger. For a moment they were again frightened, but Mary Magdalene, rushing toward him and addressing him as if she thought he might be the caretaker of the garden, said, “Where have you taken the Master? Where have they laid him? Tell us that we may go and get him.” When the stranger did not answer Mary, she began to weep. Then spoke Jesus to them, saying, “Whom do you seek?” Mary said: “We seek for Jesus who was laid to rest in Joseph’s tomb, but he is gone. Do you know where they have taken him?” Then said Jesus: “Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee, that he would die, but that he would rise again?” These words startled the women, but the Master was so changed that they did not yet recognize him with his back turned to the dim light. And as they pondered his words, he addressed the Magdalene with a familiar voice, saying, “Mary. ”And when she heard that word of well-known sympathy and affectionate greeting, she knew it was the voice of the Master, and she rushed to kneel at his feet while she exclaimed, “My Lord, and my Master!” And all of the other women recognized that it was the Master who stood before them in glorified form, and they quickly knelt before him.
189.4.12 As Mary sought to embrace his feet, Jesus said: “Touch me not, Mary, for I am not as you knew me in the flesh. In this form will I tarry with you for a season before I ascend to the Father. But go, all of you, now and tell my apostles — and Peter — that I have risen, and that you have talked with me.”
189.4.13 After these women had recovered from the shock of their amazement, they hastened back to the city and to the home of Elijah Mark, where they related to the ten apostles all that had happened to them; but the apostles were not inclined to believe them. They thought at first that the women had seen a vision, but when Mary Magdalene repeated the words which Jesus had spoken to them, and when Peter heard his name, he rushed out of the upper chamber, followed closely by John, in great haste to reach the tomb and see these things for himself.
189.5.3 Peter at first suggested that the grave had been rifled, that enemies had stolen the body, perhaps bribed the guards. But John reasoned that the grave would hardly have been left so orderly if the body had been stolen, and he also raised the question as to how the bandages happened to be left behind, and so apparently intact. And again they both went back into the tomb more closely to examine the grave cloths. As they came out of the tomb the second time, they found Mary Magdalene returned and weeping before the entrance. Mary had gone to the apostles believing that Jesus had risen from the grave, but when they all refused to believe her report, she became downcast and despairing. She longed to go back near the tomb, where she thought she had heard the familiar voice of Jesus.
189.5.4 As Mary lingered after Peter and John had gone, the Master again appeared to her, saying: “Be not doubting; have the courage to believe what you have seen and heard. Go back to my apostles and again tell them that I have risen, that I will appear to them, and that presently I will go before them into Galilee as I promised.”
190.0.5 In viewing the prominent part which Mary Magdalene took in proclaiming the Master’s resurrection, it should be recorded that Mary was the chief spokesman for the women’s corps, as was Peter for the apostles. Mary was not chief of the women workers, but she was their chief teacher and public spokesman. Mary had become a woman of great circumspection, so that her boldness in speaking to a man whom she considered to be the caretaker of Joseph’s garden only indicates how horrified she was to find the tomb empty. It was the depth and agony of her love, the fullness of her devotion that caused her to forget, for a moment, the conventional restraints of a Jewish woman’s approach to a strange man.
190.1.2 When the apostles refused to believe the report of the five women who represented that they had seen Jesus and talked with him, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb, and the others went back to Joseph’s house, where they related their experiences to his daughter and the other women. And the women believed their report. Shortly after six o’clock the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea and the four women who had seen Jesus went over to the home of Nicodemus, where they related all these happenings to Joseph, Nicodemus, David Zebedee, and the other men there assembled. Nicodemus and the others doubted their story, doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead; they conjectured that the Jews had removed the body. Joseph and David were disposed to believe the report, so much so that they hurried out to inspect the tomb, and they found everything just as the women had described. And they were the last to so view the sepulcher, for the high priest sent the captain of the temple guards to the tomb at half past seven o’clock to remove the grave cloths. The captain wrapped them all up in the linen sheet and threw them over a near-by cliff.
190.2.1 2. JESUS’ APPEARANCE AT BETHANY. From the time of the morontia resurrection until the hour of his spirit ascension on high, Jesus made nineteen separate appearances in visible form to his believers on earth. He did not appear to his enemies nor to those who could not make spiritual use of his manifestation in visible form. His first appearance was to the five women at the tomb; his second, to Mary Magdalene, also at the tomb.
190.2.7 They all wanted to rush off to the city to tell the doubting apostles about what had happened, but James restrained them. Mary Magdalene, only, was permitted to return to Joseph’s house. James forbade their publishing abroad the fact of this morontia visit because of certain things which Jesus had said to him as they conversed in the garden. But James never revealed more of his visit with the risen Master on this day at the Lazarus home in Bethany.
190.3.1 3. AT THE HOME OF JOSEPH The fifth morontia manifestation of Jesus to the recognition of mortal eyes occurred in the presence of some twenty-five women believers assembled at the home of Joseph of Arimathea, at about fifteen minutes past four o’clock on this same Sunday afternoon. Mary Magdalene had returned to Joseph’s house just a few minutes before this appearance. James, Jesus’ brother, had requested that nothing be said to the apostles concerning the Master’s appearance at Bethany. He had not asked Mary to refrain from reporting the occurrence to her sister believers.
Accordingly, after Mary had pledged all the women to secrecy, she proceeded to relate what had so recently happened while she was with Jesus’ family at Bethany. And she was in the very midst of this thrilling recital when a sudden and solemn hush fell over them; they beheld in their very midst the fully visible form of the risen Jesus. He greeted them, saying: “Peace be upon you. In the fellowship of the kingdom there shall be neither Jew nor gentile, rich nor poor, free nor bond, man nor woman. You also are called to publish the good news of the liberty of mankind through the gospel of sonship with God in the kingdom of heaven. Go to all the world proclaiming this gospel and confirming believers in the faith thereof. And while you do this, forget not to minister to the sick and strengthen those who are fainthearted and fear-ridden. And I will be with you always, even to the ends of the earth.” And when he had thus spoken, he vanished from their sight, while the women fell on their faces and worshiped in silence.
190.3.2 Of the five morontia appearances of Jesus occurring up to this time, Mary Magdalene had witnessed four.