Interviewer: The recent rumours which have come out of Jerusalem have shocked the world and we on this programme have had our correspondents as close as possible to the action. We have been able to track down the one person who above all others is probably closest to Jesus the Nazarene, who was recently executed by the Romans. Her name is Mary and she is from Magdala on Lake Galilee…Mary, we are most grateful to you for coming on to live television. You must be reeling from what has happened to you in recent days?
Mary Magdalene: My mind is in a whirl, and I’m afraid I’m not going to be very clear…
Interviewer: (interrupting) You don’t need to worry yourself about that Miss Magdala. It is Miss isn’t it?
Mary Magdalene: It is Miss. I am not married.
Interviewer: But you were very close to this Jesus man, weren’t you, Miss Magdala?
Mary Magdalene: I cannot deny that. From the first time I set eyes on him I couldn’t fail but be bowled over by this Rabbi. He was extraordinary.
Interviewer: Take us back to that first meeting, Miss Magdala. You were working in a night-club in Tiberias, weren’t you?
Mary Magdalene: I don’t know where you get your information, but my early life does not matter at all. Jesus was not concerned with my past, but with my present and my future. That’s what made him different.
Interviewer: But you were a seriously disturbed individual, weren’t you?
Mary Magdalene: I had been through a rough time, I know, but don’t exaggerate that. Who isn’t mixed up? I bet you’re not a complete picture of perfection, in spite of your clever questions. We’re all struggling to get our lives into some sort of order. This Jesus made it seem quite simple really…
Interviewer: What do you mean by that? Most of these Rabbis are so clever with all their learning that they completely befuddle you.
Mary Magdalene: I’m not saying he dumbed everything down. His knowledge of the Jewish Law was immense. He could knock spots off most of the other Rabbis. But he certainly didn’t leave you confused. He made the first two commandments the key to all our living and after that was immensely flexible.
Interviewer: First two commandments? I’m sorry I’m not so well up on these religious traditions, Miss Magdala.
Mary Magdalene: Dear me, Mr Peaceman!
Interviewer: Call me Jeremiah please.
Mary Magdalene: Mr. Peaceman. The first commandment is that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. That’s what he taught.
Interviewer: But look where it landed him, Miss Magdala. He was executed like a common thief. He must have broken some of those laws. The Romans don’t execute someone for nothing.
Mary Magdalene: Jesus was the best man I have ever met. He did nothing wrong. He spent all his time teaching and healing…
Interviewer: (interrupting)…and arguing with the Pharisees….don’t forget that. He seemed to have some revolutionary ideas, Miss Magdala.
Mary Magdalene: He called people back to the basic things of religion. He had no time for the burdens which the Jewish law placed upon the poor and the sick and the outcast.
Interviewer: I want to move now to the events of the last few days. What’s all this about the missing body and you saying you met him after he died, Miss Magdala?
Mary Magdalene: It’s incredible, I know. But I am convinced he is alive, Mr. Peaceman. I sensed his presence in the garden.
Interviewer: (interrupting) You mistook him for the gardener!
Mary Magdalene: That’s not at all surprising, is it. Jesus was the last person I expected to meet.
Interviewer: Could this not have been one of those hallucinations which you used to have a few years before? After all, they said you used to be possessed by…
Mary Magdalene: (interrupting) …devils….We’ve dealt with that, I do believe. This was not delusion from grief or depression, Mr. Peaceman. I sensed his presence and it was as real to me as if he was sitting in this chair.
Interviewer: So what did he say?
Mary Magdalene: He told me everything was OK. God had not deserted him but had been with him all along. Death was not the end but the doorway into a more glorious life. The way of life which he had shows us was quite literally the best, the way of faith, hope and love.
Interviewer: I don’t get it. So all we need to do is for all of us to go out and get ourselves crucified.
Mary Magdalene: Now you are trivialising it, Mr.Peaceman. Jesus told me to pass on to the disciples the good news that God had raised him from the dead and his life was now available to all who believed in him.
Interviewer: But we need some evidence, Miss Magdala. Prove to us that he is alive..
Mary Magdalene: You cannot prove the power of love, Mr. Peaceman…If you want evidence of the resurrection then you have to look at me, and Peter and John and Joanna and all the other friends of Jesus. Something amazing has happened to us all. We may not be able to see Jesus any more but he is as clear as daylight to us.
Interviewer: It may be clear as daylight to you, Miss Magdala, but I’m sure there’ll be a lot of our viewers who are as sceptical as I am. What makes you think this will last. Surely it will be a flash in the pan, a seven day wonder. I bet if we were to jump a couple of thousand years your hero will hardly occupy a paragraph in the history books.
Mary Magdalene: I can’t answer that. We’re all in God’s hands. The Jesus I know has the power to inspire and motivate new generations of people to embrace the kingdom he came to proclaim. All I know is, he is risen; I am alive with his life. The world needs his Spirit and energy or it will descend into that level of mindless violence which led to Jesus’ own crucifixion. Mr. Peaceman, do you really want peace, as your name implies? Pax-Man?
Interviewer: (interrupting) Miss Magdala, We’re not here to talk about me.
Mary Magdalene: You wanted juicy bits from my past. Instead, Mr. Peaceman, you have before you an ordinary woman with some good news for you and all the people on this planet. You may use words in a violent way. You live by confrontation. I can show you a better way.
Interviewer: Miss Magdala, we must leave it there. Thank you for joining us.