Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Craig Keener on Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb...

Today, in preparation for what God wants to do at Redeemer this Sunday, I've been studying John 20:1-10. It's the story where Mary Magdalene, upon finding the empty tomb, runs to tell the disciples that someone has stolen Jesus' body.

I love what Craig Keener has written about Mary in volume 2 of his John commentary and thought I'd share it:

The faithfulness of Mary Magdalene frames, hence unites, the first two paragraphs of the resurrection narrative (20:1-2, 11-18), emphasizing the important roles played by women in the narrative - whose behavior again shames the supposedly bolder men. Eastern Christianity later called Mary "isapostolos," "equal to the apostles." Some early medieval commentators found in women's initial resurrection announcement a reversal of Eve's role at the fall. As in the earliest tradition, Mary is the first to find the tomb empty and the first to see Jesus risen from the dead.

Mary comes to the tomb first (20:1), and because she remains at the tomb after the male disciples leave (20:10-11), she also receives the first resurrection appearance in 20:15-16.

That it was yet dark (20:1) could symbolize Mary coming from darkness to the light; but in contrast to Nicodemus, Mary appears so positively here that other explanations are more likely. Because the Synoptics mention on that it was early but John that it was "dark", John may play on his light-and-darkness symbolism in a different way; the light of the world was about to be revealed in its darkness. The darkness may indicate Mary's fear or may emphasize her devotion in coming as soon as possible after the Sabbath and the night that followed it. Other accounts show mourners coming at the moment of dawn to show their affection for someone they loved dearly. Thus, perhaps as the priests were eager to dispense with Jesus as "early" as possible (18:28), she is unable to sleep and eager to demonstrate her devotion as early as possible. 


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  2. I don't know if Mary's devotion to Jesus insures the redemption of Eve's sin, but it's really interesting to think and wonder about.