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Mary was a witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When asked to think about Jesus’ initial followers, the twelve disciples usually come to mind first.
However, Mary the mother of James and Joseph (or Joses) is proof that Jesus’ followers included a larger and more diverse group than just the Twelve. Mary’s background is the stuff of speculation. She may be one of the women that Luke mentioned early in his Gospel—women who had been miraculously healed by Jesus (Luke 8:1–3). Luke noted that these women supported Jesus “out of their own means,” a point that matches Mark’s description of Mary ( Mark 15:40–41).
Mary was probably a woman of wealth, perhaps belonging to an aristocratic family. As such, she supported Jesus’ ministry from behind the scenes, making sure His needs were always met. But Mary did not just support Jesus from a distance—she followed Him wherever He went, her presence as a woman no doubt raising some eyebrows in a patriarchal culture. Even as Jesus hung on the cross, Mary was there, watching her Master suffer.
Following Jesus’ death, it was two women named Mary—Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph—who went to His tomb to anoint the body. They ventured into the open, surely risking arrest and persecution, while the twelve disciples stayed behind. Because of their courage, they became the very first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ: The two Marys were greeted by an angel and then by Jesus Himself. Stunned, they ran to tell the disciples the unbelievably good news.
While men dominated Mary’s world, the Gospel writers made special note of the women included in Jesus’ ministry, even though doing so might have jeopardized their message. The testimony of women was not considered reliable, as evidenced by the disciples’ own reaction when the Marys arrived with news of the resurrection ( Luke 24:11).
On the other hand, no one deliberately fabricating an event in the first-century world would have relied on a woman’s testimony, making Mary’s part in the story one of many convincing reasons to believe in the resurrection.