Being first with the news conveys the fact that the news bearer knows what is going on and is a trusted source of news. That has always been the case, and it can be seen as far back as some 2,000 years ago, when a woman who would soon become one of the world’s most famous reporters was first to break an incredible story:
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb… she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her… “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her” (John 20:1-18).
And so it was that Mary Magdalene broke the news to the assembled disciples and was the first person to report one of the most important events in biblical history. The amazing thing is that given the social strictures of Jewish society at that time, the person entrusted with carrying this news was, incredibly, a woman. And not only a woman, but viewed from the religious perspective of the day, a woman with a highly questionable past (Mark 16:9). Yet despite the perspective of that age, God clearly knew what He was doing in giving the story to a woman – even this woman.
It is surely significant that in releasing the world-changing news of the resurrection, “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). In choosing someone viewed as an insignificant member of society, God turned human society upside down. In choosing a person with a questionable spiritual background to report His story of redemption, He also turned human religion upside down. News was made in more ways than we might immediately realize, yet the implications of the story and its reporter were doubtless not lost on the disciples.
This had been, after all, the stress of Jesus’ work throughout his ministry – to bring the good news of God’s working with humanity to the weak and the broken (Luke 4:18) – so it should not be surprising that one of those same people was chosen to deliver the first report of what had been accomplished. The news Mary Magdalene announced was not only that of the resurrection – amazing as that story was – but also that she herself, as the reporter, was proof of a new structuring of the world that God was effecting. It was proof that previously denigrated individuals such as women and the socially undesirable were on an even footing with the powerful and socially favored (Galatians 3:28).
Mary Magdalene, as reporter, broke the news that was not only of unparalleled spiritual importance for all humanity, but also – as the one chosen to deliver the message – a message of special significance for the downtrodden and spiritually broken who would eventually hear the news and be transformed by it.