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The Chapel of Mary Magdalene

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Did Jesus Appear to Mary Magdalene in This Room?

Location – Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Map Coordinates - 31.778460, 35.229556

Merged Gospels, Story - 291

In between the rotunda of the church, and the Gallery that we call the Arches of the Virgin is the Roman Catholic Chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene. This chapel is believed to be the site where Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection.

Above the altar in this chapel is a bronze statue depicting the encounter of Mary Magdalene with Jesus. High on the opposite side is the pipe organ that accompanies worship services that are celebrated here.

The Floor Tiles.

The tiles on the floor are new, but they are laid in the same pattern that they were in the 11th century. The circle with the rays represents where Jesus stood when He and Mary first encountered each other after His resurrection, and the three concentric circles represent where Mary Magdalene stood when she saw Him.

The mosaic on the floor of the Chapel of Mary Magdalene.

Who was Mary Magdalene?

Mary Magdalene was one of the most active supporters of Jesus. As her name indicates, she was from the town of Magdala on the northwest shore of Lake Galilee. According to Luke 8:2, Jesus exorcized seven demons from her. There are some who believe that she was the same woman who was caught in the act of adultery and brought to Jesus on the Temple Mount (John 8:1-11), and/or that she was the prostitute who anointed Jesus’ feet and dried them with their hair (Luke 7:36-39). However, these assumptions are not supported by Scripture, nor do they have any historic justification. And as Luke 22:14 suggests, she was not even at the Last Supper with Jesus – only the twelve Apostles were there.

Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the risen Christ

Did the appearance to Mary Magdalene actually happen? 

One of the reasons I believe that the Gospels are true is because after His resurrection, the first person that He appeared to was a woman. In the patriarchal society of ancient Israel, women weren’t regarded as important as men, and if any Jew was making up a story about Jesus rising from the dead, he would not have cast a woman as the first person to see Jesus alive. That role would have gone to a man, such as Peter or John. The only reason that we could assume that Jesus first appeared to a woman in the Gospel narrative is because it actually happened that way.

Why did Jesus choose to appear to a woman first?

I don’t believe that Jesus chose a woman to bear this distinction. I believe that He chose a person who just happened to be a woman. You see, Jesus considered men and women to be equal in importance, and while He chose Mary to be the first person to see Him in His resurrected body, her gender does not appear to be one of His considerations.

Why did Jesus reveal Himself to Mary Magdalene before any of the other Apostles saw Him? My theory is that it’s because all of the male disciples of Jesus were hiding for fear of the Jews. But she wasn’t. She came back to the tomb crying, without any fear of the Jews.

Mary was motivated by one thing - love. The male disciples were motivated by fear, which is why none of them, except John, witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Biblical Story.

Mary Magdalene rushed to the Apostles who were hiding, believing that Jesus’ body had been stolen. And she continued to believe that even after she returned to the tomb. The other women who preceded Mary to the location of the Apostles had already reported to them that Jesus was alive again. Even Mary Magdalene, who came there after these women, did not believe that He had risen.

The Gospels of Luke and John record that the Apostles Peter and John came running to the tomb. Peter was stunned, and probably didn’t know what to think, but now suddenly John believed what the women had told them.


Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb, and there she was met by two angels – probably the same ones who spoke to the other women. And she also saw a man, whom she assumed was a gardener.


Did the Gospel writers write myths?


Were the Gospel writers composing mythology, or were these books written like every other biography of that era? Did they actually believe that Jesus had risen from the dead as a physical man, or were they merely trying to convey how this deceased prophet was only resurrected in the hearts of His followers, and that He lived on in that way?


The Gospels described an event where the resurrected Jesus met with two of His disciples on their way to a town called Emmaus – a city that actually existed. He explained to them how He had fulfilled the prophecies from the Old Testament that were written about him – prophecies that were penned at least 800 years earlier. In fact, there are over 100 specific prophecies about the coming Messiah, and no person in history has ever fulfilled all of them – except for one.


On that same day Jesus visited the remaining disciples who were all in one place. On another occasion He met the Apostles, where they touched His hand and his side. Jesus said, “See My hands and My feet, that I am He. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” On this same occasion He ate broiled fish and honey. The Apostle John says that they could feel Him breathing.


The lightest reading of these four independent histories reveals that the authors were not following the literary style of mythology, allegory or fables. Moreover, when they all describe the resurrection of Jesus, there are no parallel passages. None of the authors were copying from another, or from another common source. We are left with only one conclusion. These were four separate witnesses, which, in any court of law, would constitute an open-and-shut case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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