Who Saw Jesus First — Mary Magdalene or Peter?

This week’s question of the week:  Who saw Jesus first after the empty tomb — Mary Magdalene or Peter? 

  • Mark says that Mary Magdalene, along with two other women, find the empty tomb on the third day. But the original Mark stops there and has no appearance stories at all. Interesting side note: We say “the original Mark stopped there” because most scholars think verses 9+ from the last chapter, depicting appearances of Jesus afterward, were … how do we say … appended later by someone else.
  • Matthew and John both have Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene before any of the disciples. Mary Magdalene and the ‘other’ Mary find the empty tomb, and later on Jesus appears to the women. It is not until after the disciples escape toGalilee that Jesus appears to them.
  • Luke leaves the women out of the picture, writing that Jesus appeared only to the male followers. But Luke also wrote Acts, Paul’s major marketing pamphlet. And Paul did not like women to have any kind of power in the church, let alone be the first to see Jesus. Paul’s sparse account of the resurrection also makes no mention of the women, and succinctly says that Jesus appeared fist to Peter.

This Peter vs Mary thing continues in some of the “other” gospels that did not make the cut. For example, in the Gospel of Thomas, Peter asks Mary to leave because, “women are not worthy of life.” And in the Gospel of Mary, Peter argues that surely Jesus would not have revealed his secrets to a woman.

So there’s that.