Mary of Magdalene

This is the first short story in a series that I hope to post throughout this week in preparation for Easter. Each is told in the point of view (POV) of one of the characters mentioned in one of the gospels' accounts of Easter. Please note that the ending of this story is told from John's account in John chapter 20. Enjoy!
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I couldn’t watch. Yet…I couldn’t turn away. It was as though I was betraying my King if I did either. He wasn’t supposed to be dying. He wasn’t supposed to be taking my punishment. He wasn’t supposed to be whipped. He wasn’t supposed to be mocked.
It was me that was supposed to be dying. It was I that deserved the capital punishment. If anyone, I should’ve been whipped and mocked.
I wanted to cower, turn away, and hide my face. I didn’t want to hear His agonizing cries of pain. The sorrow and pain in my own heart seemed heavier than anything else in the world. The true criminals nailed beside Him mocked Him. The sun rose high in the sky. It was nearly noon, and the crowd around me hurled abusive speech at the man who had saved my life. They yelled and shouted, as though He deserved the cruelest death in all of the Roman Empire. He didn’t.
They scoffed and mocked him, and I pushed my way through the throng. As I made my way through, I heard mockers cry out, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself." I wanted to yell back in return that He could, but for some reason He did not. It would do no good. Others shouted, "Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!" It stung to hear these ignorant people say such awful things. They would never believe. Even if He came down from the cross, they wouldn't believe. Their hearts were hardened against Him. I strained my eyes to read the sign written in the Hebrew characters above His head. It read, ‘THE KING OF THE JEWS.’ At least they had gotten that right. I could imagine the elders and leaders protesting whoever had written that, saying, “Don’t write ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’”
I pulled my head covering further over my head. No one noticed me, and no one recognized me as the woman who had had the demons cast from her. My Lord had done that…. the same Lord that was hanging from the cross before me. I ran to the edge of the crowd, sobbing. Abruptly, the sky grew dark as night, as though it was midnight instead of noon. The people around me were surprised and apprehensive, causing uproar. I caught my breath.
He suffered for three more hours, and I cried at the edge of the crowd, not willing myself to move from my rigid spot at the edge of the bystanders. Others moved on, yelling and shouting, and those walking past cried out in crude language and hateful words. One who was walking pass shook his head and shouted, "Ha! you who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself and come down from the cross!"
Suddenly, a loud voice cried out. I recognized it. In my native language, He spoke. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” Several around me didn’t understand what He said and spoke to one another saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah,” in scoffing tones. I shook my head. They didn’t understand. They didn’t understand that He was suffering… for them. An agonized cry sounded… and then silence.
I peered over the crowd and saw the centurion, the powerful man with men at his command, kneel and say with authority, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
I crumpled to the ground and wept. Finally, someone who knew the truth.
 
Evening came, and tomorrow would be the Sabbath. A highly prestigious and prominent member of the Council, Joseph of Arimathea, had asked for the body of Jesus.
I stood and watched from a distance as Joseph took the body down and wrapped Him in the traditional linen cloths. I followed discretely, and watched as they laid Him in hewn-out rock tomb. Joseph laid his hands on the large rock that stood nearby and rolled it against the entrance.
Jesus was dead. My Savior… was buried. He, the man who had cast the demons from me, was gone. The realization hit me as though lightning cursed through my body. Tears fell from my face and sparkled as they hit the ground. The sun was setting, yet I stayed. It was as though I stayed out of loyalty, though I didn’t know why.  I saw the silhouette of a woman against the horizon. I recognized her from our ministry with Jesus in Jerusalem. She was His mother. I could not imagine her agony at this moment. I had heard her miraculous story several times, and I knew she was suffering deeply.
The Sabbath came and passed, as it did every week, and I went through the motions and ritual habitually but without thinking.
The first day of the week was here. The sun hadn’t yet peeked over the horizon, and I struggled to rise. I wanted to wake up from this dream of horror, from the terrible scenes I had witnessed over the past few days. But I couldn’t.
I went to the tomb, while it was still dark. As I approached it, crying, my eyes made out the silhouette of the outcropping of the stone that had been rolled before the tomb. My pulse raced and I started running toward it. Fearfully, I observed that the stone had been taken from the tomb – rolled to the side. I lifted my robes and ran.
I ran. I ran to the door of Simon Peter, and ran to the other disciple whom Jesus loved. I pounded on their doors and exclaimed, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter and the other disciple were greatly alarmed. The both hurried out of their homes and ran ahead of me, going to the tomb. John ran even faster than Peter and went to the edge of the tomb, peering inside. With the light of the sunrise on the horizon streaming into the garden where the tomb was, he observed that which I had not. Linen wrappings were laying there, yet he did not go inside. Simon Peter followed him, but he entered the tomb. The face-cloth which had been on the Lord’s head was rolled up by itself and laid to the side. I found this odd, but I was too distraught to speak. The two disciples stood there for a moment. I wanted them to say something, to reassure me that all was okay, that this was just a horrific dream. They didn’t. They passed by me slowly, silently treading down the path. I stood outside of the tomb, and as they left, I began weeping, my tears splashing onto the dirt and lush plants. I wept.
 
A few moments later, I placed my hand on the stone that had been rolled away and looked inside once more, planning to leave as the disciples did after I looked over the burial place one more time.
I suddenly gave a little cry of alarm. Two men dressed in white were sitting inside, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. How had they gotten inside? Who were they? What had they done with the body? They spoke, and startled me.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” the one asked in rich tones. My heart was pounding, and my breath came in short gasps. I choked back my tears and stammered in as much confidence as I could collect in that short amount of time,
“Because… because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” It was the truth. I turned away quickly, wanting to leave as hurriedly as I could before the tears came again. Another man was standing there, though, and I assumed he was the gardener.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” I was asked the question again. “Whom are you seeking?” I pleaded with Him.
“Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” I turned to go, tears falling from my face once more. It was then that a startling peace swept through me. I caught my breath. It was my name. It was a voice…. A voice I knew…. A voice that I loved.
“Mary!” my name resounded throughout the garden, and I whirled around.
“Rabboni!” I cried out, both in fear and in joy. I fell to my knees and clung to the edge of His garment.
“Stop clinging to Me,” He said gently. “For I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”
The tears rushed like a river, falling at His feet, but I obeyed. My hands unconsciously loosed from the hem, but I stayed in my knelt form. I looked up to see His face once more… but He was gone.
I knew it was a miracle. It was an astounding one. It was then that I remembered what He had said. He would rise again… and He did.
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Also, I have a very special meaning to having this story start out the week before Easter. :) I feel so extremely blessed that on Friday and Saturday of this week, I will have the amazing opportunity to portray Mary Magdalene in the Passion Play at one of the large nearby churches! If you think of it at all this week, please pray that I will glorify God with my acting. We have rehearsals every night this week except Tuesday.
He is Risen!
~ Light4theLord
To God be the Glory!

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